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[i4// rights reserved. 1 




S tate and Laws. 


4 !• Constitution ••• *.. ... ... ••• ••• •.. X 

§ 2. W ar and Military Con cerns 17 

f 3 Legai Rights ... ... .*. ... •,, mj^, ...• 31 


Organization of Professions. 

4 4* The Priesthood ... ••• ••• ... ... ... 46 

§ 5. Warriors, Peasants^ Manufacturers and Slaves 64 

§ 6. The Mutual Relations of the Several Orders 72 


On the Home and Age of the Avesta. 

General Remarks ••• ••• ••• ... ... ... S5 

§ 7. Tbe Home of the Avesta 88 

f 8. The Age of the Avesta iij 


I. GufiHTASP AND ZoROASTER •«. ... 167 

II. IRANIAN ART ..• ... .•• ... ... ••• ..■ 228 

III. The Iranian Alphabets 273 

Sasanian Inscription op Naosh-i-Rustam by Dr. 

E. W. West, Munich. (Reprinted from the " Indian 
Antiquary") 287 

Opinions ... ... •.. ••• ... ... ... 396 

Translator's Notes, pp. 31, 34, 39, 40, 46, 56, 62, 65, 
72, 73» 7S» io3» 125, 143, 144, 145, 147, 172, 177, 193, 
194, 19s, 196. 205. 216, 217, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 
230* 245, 248,271,272. 







State and Laws.^^ 

§ I. Constitution. 

In all ages and countries the State has grown out of 
the family.* State and family were originally identical. 
An the relations, which subsist in family life between 
husband and wife, parents and children, masters and 
servants, have their counterparts in civil society. Here 
the relations between the sovereign and his people, 
between the government and its subjects, and frequently 
also between freemen and slaves, are similar in kind. 

The family develops itself gradually into the clan, the 
clan into the tribe, the tribe into the nation. But actual 
political life only begins when the nation has made a 
permanent settlement in a fixed region, and territorial 
associations form a new tie binding families and races to 
the State. 

* Chapter VII. § 44, Ostiranische Kuliur. 

* ty. Arnold, ** German Antiquity, *' pp. 310 j^j^. ; Kaufman n, 
Deutsche Geschkhl'e^ vol. I. p. 113. 



It must be understood that the development of the 
nation does not proceed on the basis of races and tribes 
alone, but is equally influenced by territorial division. 
In proportion as the new influence gathers stability and 
vital power, the family loses its political importance and 
retains only that founded on private rights. 

It is in this first stage of political existence that we 
find the Iranians of the Avesta. They are no longer 
herdsmen, or nomads, but settled agriculturists. Terri- 
torial distinctions, therefore, already appear^ but not to 
such an extent that the old constitution of races and 
tribes is thereby disturbed and impaired. 

Ig \h f Eastern Iranian State the family forms the 
fu ndamental unit of the politic al organization of the 

The clan is m ade up^of_a number jof_Jdjidted_families, 
while th e tribe is forme d of a nu mber of clans. -The tribal 
system may have, lik ewise, developed itself so far in the 
case of the Ira nians , that_famiHes_and_clans no longer 
res tricted themselves to their natural m embers, but also 
a dmitted outsid ers in to their bod y. Clans numerically weak 
b anded together for the purpose of s ecuring their indepen- 
den ce, while others perhaps divi ded themselves for econo- 
mi cal reasons. However, the ...characteristic marks of 
clanship survived. 

Every individual was only a member of the State in so i 
far as he or she belonged to a particular family or clan. \ 
Individual citizens were not p olitica l units, but the family 
and the clan were; and the latter held a higher or low er 
position in the St ate in proportion to their rank and influenc e. 
There were no civil officers other than the elders of the clan 
or tribe — a system which takes little account of personal 
merit or efficiency. 

In the Avesta State a certain tendency to division and 
isolation cannot but be perceived, as might perhaps be 
•-expected from the nature ^ftjie country. Soil suitable for 


a gric ultural settlements is gener ally not to be fojind injargc 
u nbroken expan ses, but in isolated tracts and parcels. 
A community, which occupies such a spot, forms to a certain 
extent a_state by its.elf^_.beiag separated f r o m o t her com* 
munities by high and almost ioaccessihle-mouiitauiriran^es^ 
and hy-dreary deserts. 

In fact, the more tenaciously the Eastern Iranian clings 
to the narrow circle of his blood-relations, the less deve- 
loped is his sympathy with the State and its interests. 
Religion alone forms a tie sufficiently strong to bind one 
community to another. It plays a far more important part 
than national cohesion. 

It is, indeed, characteristi c that th e Avesta language does 
not even contain a word descriptive of thf^ pp npl^ as a pnlitU 
calbody. Even the old Indian ytoxAjana^ in the passages 
where it appears in contradistinctioir to the term'* sovereign " 
or '* king," approaches this meaning far more nearly than 
any word in the Avesta. 

The Eastern Iranian village was an aggregation: of families. 
It consisted of several farm-houses, each of which was 
inhabited by a family. Possibly also the fanvilies most 
closely related fornved within the village a compact group 
or a special quarter,^ as is the case at the present day 
amongst the Kishl&ks of the Badakhsh&nr. 

* Comp. Zimroer, AiL. pp. 158-159. 

• A similar circumstance is in my opinion indicated by qaetu 
which occurs together with verezena (another form is veresdnd) 
and airyaman in Ys. XXXIII. 3 and 4, XLIX. 7. The tradi- 
tional translation of that word is the Phlv. Khvlshxh = Mod. Pers. 
Khlskl^ «* relation, consanguinity." Compare also qaethvo-daika^ 
"marriage of relations." Verezena corresponds strikingly with 
the Skr. vrjana, "village, village- community " (just as grama). 
However, the identity of these two words is contested by many. 
Skr. vrjana means originally " enclosure," then " hurdle, enclosed 
village." This fundamental meaning cannot but be supposed to 
be involved in the Ir, verezina, since . varez always means only 


At all events the smallest divisions of the State were 
looked upon as being at once local and political. They 
had, therefore, a real and tangible importance in connection 
with the daily life of the people. The house or farm was 
identical with the family^ the village with the clan. Accord- 
ing to traditional accounts fifteen families were sufficient to 
form a clan or village-community; but I suspect that this 
minimum existed in theory rather than in practice. 

The clans or Vis traced their descent from a common 
ancestor. The clan as such was called by his name ; but in 
the course of a generation the same name was also again 
applied to single individuals. 

** to work." I may here refer to the Mod. Pers. barzlgar, 
" husbandman," and barzan, •* vicus^ urbis, mansion." Verezena 
then came to denote the village as an association of colonists 
that follow agriculture. The word approaches its original 
signification *'work, care," in d/hro.verezene, " care (tending), 
cult of the fire," (Ys. XXXVI. i) ; the same idea is indeed 
expressed in ashahya-verezenet (Ys. XXXV. 8). More certainly 
does the word varezdna designate the village in the passage where 
it is used with the word maeihana^ ** farm-house," (Yt. X. 80 ; 
Comp. also Yt. X. 1 16), just as in the phrase ashd *fradh • verezena- 
(Ys. XXXIV. 1 4), which is the same as the asha -/rddh- gaethdo. 
— A wider confederation, probably the union of neighbouring village- 
communities into a common league, offensive and defensive, 
is to be understood by airyaman. This meaning of the word is 
clear when it occurs along with hakheman^ *' friendship." 

The expressions gaefu, verezena and airyaman, evidently refer 

to the moral relation of the individual families to each other. The 

proper technical names for the constitution of the tribe are : r, 

r Nmdna, ** house, family " ; 2, Vis, ** village, clan, race" ; 3, 

/ ZantUi ** tribe" ; 4, Danhu or Baqyu, " country." For the two 

first vide vol. I. pp. 233-234 and 237-238. Zantu is derived 

from the root 2^«, •' to generate, to bring forth" ; Skr. JaniUy 

*« descendant, race, tribe." The political organization is not 

' altogether identical with that of the Vedic Arians. Amongst the 

latter the different classifications are called Jana^ Vic^ Grama or 

Vrjana, which, according to Zimmer {AiL. pp. 158 seq,)y 

respectively denote " tribe (single nation), countr)- and village." 


One of the most renowned races in the Avesta is the 
Athwyanian which evidently derives its origin from the 
half-legendary hero Athwya, From it the hero Thrait&na, 
the conqueror of A zhi Daha ka, derives his descent.* I 
would mention also the race of the Nautarids, to which Kavi 
Vishtaspa belongs. His wife, Hutausa, is also included in 
it, wives being admitted into the clans of their husbands.* 
Finally, from the race of the Hvovids descends Jamaspa, 
one of the first men who declared for the religion of 
Zarathushtra. . . . 

T he tribe^ called Zan t u. was evidently an almo st 
a bstract concep tion. It is not mentioned ^y itf^f)f i" <^hp 
Avesta^ but only as included in the syst em of the 
Zoroastrian constitution. 

The last one is composed of individual families. Hence we see 
that the old Arian people were, indeed, likewise organized accord- 
ing to consanguinity and race, primarily into the separate nations, 
of Iranians and Indians, and hence was developed an extremely 
legal and permanent political organization. — Danhu corresponds 
literally to the Vedic dasyu, which designates the non-Arian 
aborigines of the Panjab. The relation of both these terms and 
their meanings is as follows : The primitive Arian word denoted, 
as does also its cognate ddsa, hostile tribes. The Indian dasj'u 
retained that signification, and served subsequently as a name for 
the enemies of the gods or demons. But the Iranians understood 
by the term Danhu^ the land rescued from enemies, or country in 
general; even the Mod. Pers. dih^ which is purely topographical, 
signifies a village. The Latin provincia may be conveniently 
suggested for comparison. We have a striking compound word in 
danhu-pdpereiana, *' battle of the (for the ?) countries," which most 
vividly reminds us of the Skr. dasyu-hatya, Lassen, /, A, vol. 
I. pp. 633 seq,\ Spiegel, E, A, vol. III. p. 544 ; vol. II. p. 241 ; 
Zimmer, AiL, pp. 109 seq. 

* "Unto her, the Anahita, offered * the offspring of the 
Athwyanian race, * the offspring of the mighty race, Thrailana," 
Yt. V. 33 ; IX. 13 ; XV. 23 ; XVII. 33 ; comp. Ys. IX. 7. 

* Yt. V. 98, vide vol. I. p. 176. Yt. XV. 35 :— "Unto him, the 
Raman, implored Hutausa, who was rich in brothers, and of the 
race of the Nautarids." uu-v^^^^^^ui 

^ I 


We cannot, moreover, represent by the tribe in the old 
Iranian State a large and independent portion of the people, 
following its own course of development. The word 
Zantu only denoted a certain number of families and 
clans which were more closely united amongst themselves 
than with others, which probably derived their descent 
from the same ancestor, and which had, I believe, emigrated I 
together before they settled in the country. 

Local circumstances exercised far greater influence 
than the more theoretical union of the tribe. At all 
events, with the foundation of permanent settlements, one 
race was easily divided from another, and the nation 
became a confederacy of distinct races. The theory as 
such was retained, but in reality the situation of the 
different village-communities played a far more important 
part in practical life. The closer pursuit of agriculture 
in many districts, the distribution of water over the fields, 
the construction of canals and trenches for irrigation, as 
well as the right of pasture also necessitated an adjust- 
ment of the relations between the individual communities. 

Hence, instead of the ' tribe,' or, as the phrase also occurs, 
of the * race and tribe,' the purely local idea of the ' settle- 
ment' or of the * district* appears already in the Gathas. 
By this is evidently meant the territory with all its 
settlements occupied by one or more races. 

*' Accordingly I ask Thee, how the bounteous one, who 

desires the mastery over an estate, 
Or over a district, or over a country, in order to 

propagate piety. 
As a man devoted to Thee, O Mazda Ahura : how 

he must be and how he must act ?" 

*' None of you shall listen to the words and precepts 
of the vicious ; 
For he will bring unto his house, and unto his village, 
unto his district and unto his country, grief anddeath." 


" (Nay), beat them down with the weapon ! " * 

Finally, the country or Daqyu appears to be of geo- 
graphical rather than of political significance. The term 
^^ countries ^^ stands for land in general: ''Thou art the 
worst and the best at the same timet O Mithra, for men ! 
.Thou commandest over peace and discord, O Mithra, 
in the countries ! '** 

The land of the Avesta people was divided into several 
coGntrieSj_ fo^ whic h reasoa the Arian countries are always 
spoken of in the, plural. Mention is also made of the 
countries belonofinp to the non-Arians and to the Tura- 
nidus* This is quite consistent, as the *' country" meant 
originally the districts snatched from the enemy, and we 
are free to conclude hence that the tribes of foreign race 
had the same system of clanship as the Arians. 

The individual village-communities, as well as the 
countries themselves, seem to have been independent of 
each other, and, as a rule, to have followed their own line of 
policy. Occasionally, however, they also formed themselves 
into a larger confederation, particularly, I believe, when 
they were required to beat off some common external 

A tribal system, similar to that which the Eastern Iranians 
possessed, according to the description of the Avesta, 
existed also in Western Iran- This we may infer from the 
statements of Herodotus and of the old Persian cuneiform 

The Medes were divided into six, the Persians into ten 
subdivisions or tribes. Each tribe contained in itself 

* Ys. XXXI. 1 6, {nmanay shoithra^ daqyu) and i8 (nmana^ vis, 
shoi/hra, daqyu). For the second passage comp. vol. I. p. 14. 

• Yt. X. 29. 

■ Thus we must, I believe, explain airyaman (vide supra^ p. 4, 
note), and danhusasti (Ys. Lll. S and Yt. X. 87). The latter 
name represents a more comprehensive union in the list* after 
house, village, tribe and country. 


several clans^ each clan a number of distinct families. Such 
a clan amongst the Persians was that of the Ach'amenids, 
from which descended the Great Kings, who consequently 
may have been originally, also, the elders of clans and 

The finer distinction of the Avesta between a tribe and 
a country, ^Zantu and a DaqyUy besides being of no practi- 
cal value, appears even to have been unknown in Western 
Iran. Here they understood by the '* tribe'* evidently a 
comprehensive union, which, as was frequently the case 
with the Germans, coincided with the country ; for the tribei 
was the genealogical, the country the geographical, designa- 
tion for the same division of the State. 

How much the culture of a nation is influenced by the 
natural features of its territory is clearly observed in the old 
Iranian State as composed of races. To this potent factor 
we may ascribe the preservation of the same constitution 
up to the present time amongst the tribes of Iran, which 
have remained untouched by civilization, in the midst of the 
Afghans, Lures and Kurds. 

The first of the tribes named above is the most impor- 
tant for us, since it partly dwells in the territory of the 
Avesta people. 

Among the Afghans the family has the same political 
importance that it had in ancient days.^ It forms the 
basis of the entire national organization of the people; 
but the State is rather more developed in its details. 

* Spiegel, E, A, vol. II. pp. 237-238. Vide Herodotus, I. loi, 
125. The technical terms used in the Avesta, in the Cuneiform 
Inscriptions and in Herodotus, are the following : — 

Avesta. « • *• - Herodotus. 


I. danhu "j 

2.zanlu ) ^''^'*"'' y*'^'- 

3. 7>is vU'th (f)pr)Tpij, 

4. nmana mantya 

■ With what follows compare Spiegel, E, A, vol. I. pp. 310 seq. 


We cannot simply distinguish, as in the case of the Avesta 
people, three concentric circles which have the family 
as the central point, but generally four or even five, so 
that our terms — "country," "tribe," and "race" — are 
no longer sufficient. 

The Afghan Khail or " clan '' appears chiefly to corres-, 
pond to the Vis or clan of the Avesta people. But 
the Khails are no doubt proportionally more considerable. 
They spread themselves as a rule over several villages, 
and often comprehend a very considerable number of 

Several clans form again a larger group. This is 
particularly the case with the Bannu Afghans, whose 
extensive alliances concluded for mutual defence, are 
called Gundi.^ With the latter I might compare the 
Zantu or tribe of the Avesta. 

The great leading tribes of the Afghans, such as the 
Durani, Ghilzai, Khaiberi, Yiisufzai, may be regarded as 
corresponding in some measure to the Daqyus or countries 
a supposition which is warranted chiefly by the fact tha 
they are really divided from each other according t< 

The country of the Durani is bounded on the North 
by that of the Aimak and Hezar, towards the West and 
South- West it touches the desert, in the South it reaches 
the district of Shorawak and- the Khoja-Amran mountains. 
Northward of the DuranT dwell the Ghilzai on the Upper 
Arghandab and Tarnak, and along the banks of the river 
Lagar as far as the Panjir. 

The Khaiberi occupy the eastern spurs of the Scfid-Koh. 
The Yusufzai inhabit the plains of Peshiiwur as well as 
the valleys of the rivers running from the North into the 

* Compare Gerland in Thorburn, Globus, XXXL 1877, p. 315. 
VOL. 11. C 


In order briefly to describe the Afghan constitution as it 
holds among the Duranis and to illustrate ancient institu- 
tions by modern practice, we may mention that they are sub- 
divided into two principal divisions and nine tribes. Each 
tribe is composed of a number of races or clans and families. 

The Popalzai form a tribe of the Duranis, the Saddozai 
a clan of the Popalzai. From a family of the Saddozai was 
descended the founder of the Afghan power. 

The Bannu Afghans are also divided into numerous Khaih 
or clans. Each clan consists of several village -communities, 
each village-community again of several families. 

Like the political organization of the Avesta people, their t 
government is also patriarchal. 

The master of the house is the head of each house or of 
each individual family; the 7naster of the clan or village 
superintends the clan or the village, and is perhaps selected 
from amongst the patres-familias* But it is far more 
probable that the headman of the leading oldest family of 
the race held that dignity ipso facto. 

The master of the tribe is the chief of the Zantu or 
*' tribe." Lastly, ^Ai^ prince or sovereign of the country is the 
head of the country. They also possibly owed their dignity 
to election ; or perhaps enjoyed it in consequence of the 
position in the tribe occupied by their clans and their 

All authority in the Avesta State was evidently analo- 
gous to the dignity and legal power possessed by the 

' Their names in the Avesta dialect are : — nmanb-paiti, " master 
of the house" (also nmanya); rw-/>fl/V/, " master of the village 
or clan'* (also visja) ; zantu-paiti, " master of the tribe" (also 
zan/uma) ; danhu-paiti^ " master of the country *' (also daqyuma). 
The same chiefs are again and again mentioned ; as in Yt. X. 
83-84 : " Him, Mithra, does the master of the country implore 
with uplifted hands for help, him the master of the tribe, him the 
master of the village, him the master of the house." Comp. Yt. X, 
17, 18; Vsp. m, 2 ; Yd. VIL 41, 42 ; Ys. IX. 27, &c. 


pater-familias in his household. It is a remarkable factV 
that the Shirani, an Afghan tribe inhabiting the SuleimiiiJ 
mountains, designate their chief, who is always the heaal 
of the oldest family^\by_ tbe_title_ of A^/i^'^, *'_Httlc_gEandJ 

We will not err if we assume that the greatest influence 
was directly exercised by the master of the house and 
the elder of the clan or village. A similar state of things 
still exists amongst those tribes of modern Iran, which 
have preserved their ancient constitution. Amongst them 
each family, each dan and each tribe has, as in the 
case of the Avesta people, its own head— a condition^ 
of things which savours strongly of republicanism. The 
chiefs of the different tribes possess as a rule more power 
and influence than the king.* 

For success in his more important enterprises the \ 
Amir of Afghanistan depends entirely upon the greater 
or less good- will of the tributary princes, who are 
nominally subordinate to him. The individual tribes are 
altogether independent. Even the most powerful princes 
are content when the tribes only bind themselves to pay 
an insignificant tribute, and to take the field on their 
behalf in case of war. 

The Afghans of Bannu have generally no common 
Khan. Each village-population selects its own Mai iky 
who collects certain taxes, out of which, however, the 
public expenses are to be defrayed. The Khails^ too, 
select their own Malik^ who is distinguished by his power 
or noble birth. The Gundis also have their own leader, 
whilst no higher central authority is known.' 

* See Globus, vol. XXXI. 1877, p. 333. Cf. also Elphin- 
stone, " Kabul/' vol. II. pp. 24 seq.^ on the Afghan clans and 
their government. 

' Spiegel, E, A, vol. II. p. 240. 

' Globus, vol. XXXI. 1877, p. 317. 


The State management which obtains among the Kafirs, 
appears to be the most primitive of all. Here the entire 
government consists in a sort of patriarchal control 
exercised by the beads of certain families. However^ 
the powers of such elders are very limited.^ 

We may safely believe that the sovereigns of ''countries" 
lived in a style of extreme simplicity. The type of such 
TOtiTarclial rulers Is Yifhay ^' the rich in (locksT^ We may 
infer from the epithet thus applied to him, that this prince 
was, like his subjects, devoted to agriculture and cattle- 
breeding, and was distinguished from .them only by his 
larger fields and flocks. 

The country-princes principally display their activity 
in war. They are also, therefore, called *'the armed 
rulers." « 

" The country-princes pray unto him (Mithra), when 

they draw themselves up in line of battle against 

the terrible armies, against those gathered thus 

together for fighting in the war of the country." ' 

Vadhaghna and Arvasara, the opix)nents of Kavi 

IlusravUf^ are styled " country-princes." The Yazatas 

also receive this title of honour, **fespecially Mithra, 'Vvrbo 

is even called the "provincial lord of all the countries," 

because he rules as the Sutt'-Yazata from heaven over 

the entire world.^ 

Another appellation for the master of a country is 
^' Sdstar, "the ruler/' ^ The Sastar also displays his power 
in the field : 

• " Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society," vol. II. 
1880, p. 251. 

" Thwam • Yazaonte • aurvaoTjho • ahuraoghb • danhu-palayo'^ 
Yt. V. 85. 

• Yt. X. 8. * Vol. XIX. 6; Yt. XV. 31. 

• Yt. X. 78. — Mithrem • vispatiam • daqyunam • danhu-paOxm, 
Yt. X. 145. Comp. Ys. I. II. 

** Sas/urc from the root sdot/h = Skr. cas, '* to command. "^ 



*' Mithra surveys the whole Arian-land, the most blissful, 
where armed rulers command excellent troops." * 

The identity of the Sastars with the country-princes is 
proved by their title of all-commanding rulers of the 
country.^ If such a one duly adores the Fravashis, who 
manifest their aid chiefly in battle^ he will attain special 
power.' They are principally the manes who protect 
the ruler in every difficulty. 

" When hostile antagonists pursue the all-commanding 

ruler of the country; and when he (the latter) 

implores the ho\A fravashis of the pious ; then they 

come to his protection." * 

Such is the position which the Sastar holds in the Yashts. 

Here he is clearly the country-prince so far as he is the 

commander-in-chief of the army. 

An entirely different picture is more strikingly exhibited 
in the Yasna and the Vendidad. In these books the 
Sastar is considered as a wicked being, an inimical tyrant 
full of death and destruction. 

" Against the body of the vicious man, of the mali- 
cious sastar, throw thy weapon, O golden Hauma ! 
to favour the threatened pious people." ^ 
So early as in the Gathas is this antipathy to the Sastars 
observed,^ and we might almost believe that we here 

* Yt.X. 13-14. 

• Sasia • danheush • hamb'khshathrd. 


■ " If {anybody) makes good offerings • unto ihQ fravashis of 
the pious,* he will become an all-commanding ruler of the 
country,* the most powerful prince among mankind," Yt. XIII. 18. 

* Yt. XIII. 69-70. Avi'Spash/d, " threatened by an ambush" : 
from avi-spas, literally " to glance at somebody." 

' Ys. IX. 31. Comp. Yo • mashyo • drvao • sasia, Vd. XXI. i ; 
IV. 49 ; Ys. LXV 8. — Sdstrahecha, pouru-mahrkahe, Ys. LXL 4 ; 

• NacJha • daqyemh • yoi - sdslarv • dregvanlo, occurring in a 
difficult passage, Ys. XLVI. I. 




touch upon the traces of a conflict between the priesthood 
and the political power. This antique ** Kulturkarnpf,** 
however, must have gradually died out. In the Yashts, 
composed in later times and especially for the use of the 
laity, this antagonism seems to have entirely disappeared; 
The title Khshathra^ ** sovereign," is also very ancient, 
and is found even in the sacred Gathas, It is before the 
Khshathras that Zarathushtra and his immediate adherents 
and followers proclaim the new religion. Whether they 
will decide in its favour is the most striking and important 

" Therefore I ask Thee, give me truly answer, 

O Ahura : 
How shall I maintain my doctrine purer, 
Which is to be proclaimed before the bounteous 

As the true princedom and the right doctrine by 

Thy adherent, O Mazda, 
Who dwells amongst the settlers piously and good- 


The Khshathras are not always inclined to embrace 
the Mazda-religion. They adhere sometimes to false priests, 
the Kavis and KarapanSy instead of listening to the precepts 
of the Zoroastrian sages. As a punishment for their 
stubbornness they are threatened with eternal damnation.^ 
Good and bad princes are sharply distinguished ; — 
** Good princes shall rule over us, but no wicked 
With deeds of good wisdom, O Armati ! "' 

• Ys. XLIV. 9. C/, vol. I. p. 231. Also compare Vsp. I. 9 : 
" I lay out the offering and make it known to the lord of the 
country, who is devoted to Ahura'* (Ahuroi^h' daqyumahe,) 

• Ys. XLVI. 1 1 ; XLIX. 1 1 : comp. vol. I. pp. 99-101. 

• Ys. XLVIII. 5. The emendation of the first line : Hu- 
khshaihra * ni'md- du^hkhshalhra • khshayaniu^ was first suggested 
by Roth. (Cy. C. de Ilarlez, Av, tr* II. p. 147, note). 



" When will, O Mazda! the men of wisdom step 
forth ? 
When will they drive away the filth of intoxication ; 
Of which vice the false priests are proud, 
And of which the wicked rulers of countries boast ? " ' 

♦ Grehma appears to have been such a prince, hostile 
to the Zoroastrian religion.^ On the other hand, the 
princes like Vishtaspa and Jamaspa are extolled as the 
first adherents of Zarathushtra.' 

The country-princes were independent of each other. 
But it also happened occasionally that a powerful poten- 
tate acquired supremacy over several or all the Arian 
countries. This is particularly mentioned of Kavi Husrava, 
the Kai Khosrav of the Shahniime, who is likewise, 
therefore, called in the Avesta the hero who united the 
Arian countries into an empire.* 

In like manner Haushyangha, Yima and Kavi Usan 
address the following prayer to Ardvi-siira: "Grant, O 
most blissful Anahita, that I may become the supreme 
ruler over all the countries of demons and men P' ^ 

The dominion of village-elders and of country -princes 
was not absolute. 

Among the Afghans, the heads of families as well as the 
Maliks of village-communities and of clans, meet together 
in an assembly, which has the right to impose penalties 
and to adjust differences, and which thus curbs the power 
of the head Malik, 


• Ys. XLVIII. 10. Dus\ikhshaihrd • daqyundm • strikingly re- 
minds us of sasta • danheu%\it 

• ' Ys. XXXII. 12.14. 
» Ys. LI. 16 ; XLIX. 9 (cf, also Ys. XLVI. 14 seq. ; LIII. 2.) 

• Arsha . airyanam • daqundm • khshaihrai . hahkeremo, Yt, V. 
49; IX. 21 ; XV. 32. 

• Yatha • bavani • upemem • khshaihrem • vispanam • daqyundm • 
daevandm • mashydndmcha^ apparently meaning " the non-Arians 
and the Arians," Yt. V. 22, 26, 46. 



Popular assemblies are also known amongst the Lures 
and even amongst the wildest tribes of the Kurds. ^ They 
are evidently very old institutions, and at the same time 
an organic element in the constitution of the tribe. 

Of Yima it is related in the Avesta that he convoked an 
assembly of the best among men.* This assembly was 
also graced by the presence of Ahura Mazda and the good 
genii. Ahura Mazda announced unto Yima the impending 
deluge and gave him the necessary counsel, how to escape 
from that danger with his people. 

Here we have clearly before us the description of an 
/ old country-prince, and how he holds solemn council 
/ with the nobles of his tribe regarding some important 

The assemblies were, it seems, opened with prayer, in 
fact, with the Ahuna-varya formula,^ whereby the help 
of the Divine Spirit was invoked and the pernicious 
influence of evil was averted. 

A man, whose word is of weight in council, is highly 
estimated by the people : — 

" Through the power and glory of the fravashis an 
able man rises in the assembly, a counsellor of 
convincing speech, who possesses the longed-for 
wisdom, who will protect his countryman seeking 
his help, anticipating his request ! " * 

For this reason one prays also to the Fravashis : — " In 
my house may there be herds of cattle and troops of men, 
swift horses, strong chariots, and an able adviser/' " Able 

* Spiegel, E. A.\o\. 11. p. 240. C/. also Globus, XXXI. 1877, 

p. 332. 

* Hahjamanem • fraharaia • yo • Yimo • khshae/o - hvcLlhwd^ 

Vd. II. 21. Also vyakhna is an expression used for the *• assem- 
blage of the people," from root vyach. 

* Yt. XL 3-4. 

* Yt. XIII. 16. I believe, we should read the third verse thus :— 
zyakhmd • hugushayai • ukhdho. 



in council" is likewise an honourable characteristic of 
posterity. Mithra, the all-seeing sun-yazata^ too, enjoys 
the same title, which is evidently regarded by the Iranians 
generally as expressing the ideal of manly capacity.^ 

§ 2 • War and Military Concerns. 

The peace of the Avesta nation was chiefly endangered 
by the plundering inroads of the northern barbarians.* 
Indeed^ no effectual military precautions could be taken 
against such foes,' save to be always on the watch and to 
parry attacks as skilfully as possible. However, regular 
campaigns were not unknown. The Arians undertook 
wars against the enemies of their tribes, partly, it appears, 
for the sake of conquest, and partly by way of retaliation 
for p'llaging incursions.* 

Internal dissensions were also^ I believe, frequent amongst / 
the Arians themselves, for social and religious differences 
were common. It was, therefore, a matter of honour for^ 
every man to be always brave and warlike,^ 

In the field every head of a family was accompanied by 
Vis followers^ who, I am inclined to believe, chiefly con- 
sisted of grown-up sons ; however, the able-bodied servants 
must also have accompanied their master in war; and, 
the larger the number of his followers, the more important 
naturally was his position in the camp. " Troops of 
heroes " are, therefore, in addition to cattle and fields, one 
of the principal objects of desire to the Iranian. 

* Yt. XIII. 52 ; Ys. LXII. s J Yt. X. 65. 

■ Akksh^t, •* peace " ; anakhshfi, *' discord." 
' " Enemy," dushmainyu, ibtshvai, hamereiha, Yt. X. 11 ; 
haretha^ Yt. X. 34 ; verethra just as Skr. rr/rtf, Ys, XLIV, 16. 

♦ Yt. X. 8 ; ^. vol. I. p. 27. 

• Vuidhishta^ Vahtn, 



*' Give strength and victory, give herds that create 
prosperity, give a troop of heroes, able and eloquent, 
victorious and unconquered, who may overpower 
the opponents, who may subdue the enemies, who 
may bless the people and protect their race ! " * 

The organization of the army was of course based on 
no other principle than the constitution of the State during 
peace. The family constituted the military as it did the 
political unit. The warriors ranged themselves family by 
family and clan by clan, the ties of relationship being thus 
regarded as the most stable bond of union in the moment 
of danger,^ 

Armies were modelled after the same pattern by the 
Indians, with whom the expression " village-community " 
meant exactly a troop of warriors.' The same was also 
the case amongst the old Germans : — 

" The armed nation was at the same time the army, for 
army and nation were syijonymous, and only the invalids, 
children, women and old men were excluded from military 
service. In the most ancient times the case was similar 
with every nation, and it was so much the more believed 
to be indispensable by the Germans, as their tribes had to 
be necessarily organized in a warlike manner when on their 
migrrations. Also there were wandering armies which had 
to be ready every moment for defence." 

" The sub-divisions of the people into countries, 
hundreds, and communities, therefore, constitute the sec- 
tions of the army ; or, as we can say perhaps more 
correctly, the divisions of the nation owed their origin 

' Nyaj. III. lo, Cf. virydm-ish/imf vtrydm-vathivdm^ &c., Yt. 
VIII. IS ; XIII. 52 ; and the compound form pasu-vtra, Ys. XLV. 
9, LVIII. 6. 

■ Yt. XIIL 67 may be cited as a proof (vide\o\, I. pp. 1 14- 1 15). 

■ Zimmer, AiL. pp. 160-16 1. In the Avesta the army is 
called «ra=Skr. vrd. The latter particularly designates a sub- 
division of the vie* 



inversely to its military organization. Here the relation- 
ship and union of races were of course taken into con- 
sideration as much as possible, for, as we learn from 
Tacitus, the nearest relatives among the old Germans 
stood together also in battle." ' 

The task of leading the army devolved on the country- 
prince. He had to take care that the army was properly 
arrayed in ranks, since the Iranians did not fight, like 
barbarians, in irregular masses, but already to a certain 
extent in drilled battalions. * 

The use of banners or military ensigns, too, points to a 
certain tactical order in the field. It is intended, I believe, 
to indicate the military skill and capacity of the inhabitants 
of Bdkhdhif when that city receives in the A vesta the 
epithet *' with highly-raised banners/' ' It is also said 
of the Fravashis, who are active in battle, that they bear 
military ensigns. 

Before the battle rages the divine spirits are invoked for 
assistance. ^* The country-princes pray unto Mithra, 
when they go to battle."* In fact, they owe their victory to 
the strength and aid of the celestial ones. 

'* Therefore I ask Thee, give me truly answer, O 

* Arnold, " German Antiquity " (3) pp. 286-287 > ^/' Kaufmann, 
Deutsche Geschichte, vol. I. p. I2i. Tacitus, Germ. 7:'' Quod 
praecipuum foriiiudinh incitamentum esiy non casus neque for* 
tuila conglohatio turmam aui cuneum facity sed families et pro- 

• C/. supra pp. 12-13; Yt. X. 14 ; Sas/aro • aurva . . . . 
urao ' razayeihti {^\iv, raj\ ''to rule, to command"). The " battle" 
is hamaranaQlU XIII. l\)z^S)iiX, samarana ; or peshana {danhu- 
paper etdna)^^^kx, priana. The " line of battle " is areza 
(Yt. X. 8 and 36, XIII. 33) or rasman (Yt. V. 68, X. 47) ; Comp. 
rasmano • hamstaUi, ** the drawing up of the army in files, " Yt. 
XIII. 39. ** Army" = spadha, Mod. Pers. sipah. 

• Drafsha, " banner "; eredhwo-drafsha, Yd. I, 7. 

* Yt. X. 8. 


Whether Thou commandest over it in holiness, 
When the two armies silently dash together, 
According to those doctrines^ which Thou, Mazda, 

wouldst have us adhere to : 
How and to which of the two Thou wilt grant the 

victory ? " * 

A war-song, the author of which imagines himself 
to be on the eve of a bloody battle, is preserved in the 
Avesta : 

*' May the two exalted friends 
Come to our help, 

When the swords raise their din (/. e, clash) loudly, 
When the horses* nostrils snort. 
When the daggers gleam, and the strings 
Send forth sharp arrows : 
Then shall the sons of God's contemners 
Be hurled headlong ! " * 

The swaying of the battle from one side to the other 
is compared to the conflux of mighty waters, especially to 
that of the Voru-kasha. *' There quiver all the flanks, 
there shakes the entire middle, when flows into it, when 
streams into it the Ardvi-sura Anahita.''' 

Now is the time for the Yazatas to render support and 
vigorous help. It is principally the Fravashis and Mithra, 
who now display their might.* 

* Vs. XLIV. IS. 

■ Yt. X. 113. By the ** two friends " (Av. Mithra) are implied 
Ahura and Mithra, ** God's contemners " is a free rendering. The 
text has gouru-zaothranO^m^ " of those who bring odious offer- 
ings." The expression might be changed into gouru-zaothra, in 
order to suit the metre, so that hunavo may perhaps be translated 
*nhe Hunus.'* 

* Yt. V. 4. The metaphor is taken from the waving of the 
line of battle, karana is the flank, the wing ; maidhya^ the middle, 
the centre. Cf. Yt. X. 36, XIII. 39. 

* Yt. XIII. 17, 3«f 37-38, 66-67, Vide vol. I. pp. 114-115. 


" Mithra opens the war, he joins in the combat; standing 

in the fight he shatters the lines arrayed for battle. 

There stagger all the flanks of the army led to the 

fight ; he (Mithra) puts to flight the whole centre of 

the blood-stained army of the enemy." ^ 

Respecting their equipment in war it may be mentioned 

that offensive weapons were more in use than defensive 

armour. However, the latter was not quite unknown. 

The Turanian prince, Frangrasyan, wears a coat-of-mail 
made of brass. The Fravashis are metaphorically con- 
ceived as clad in brazen armour, apparently after the 
manner of heavy-armed warriors on earth. Mithra as the 
Yazata of light is clad in a gold coat-of-mail. ^ 

We do not err if we assume that brazen armour was 
used especially by those who fought on chariots. In their 
exposed position they stood more in need of protection than 
other combatants. Only people of rank, who belonged 
to the military nobility, fought from chariots. The rest of 
the nation fought probably on foot around them. Cavalry, 
too, were even known to a certain extent.' 

The most valuable property of the *' chariot-warriors " 
consisted naturally in their steeds, for whose strength and 
vigour they prayed.* *' Famous through chariots" is a 
term of praise bestowed upon the horse. ^ The princes 
are called " possessors of snorting steeds and of rumbling 

* Yt. X. 36 [cf X. 39). The same is said of Verthraghna, Yt. 
XIV. 62^ and of Sransha, Ys. LVII. 12. 

■ Ys. XI. 7 speaks of Frangrasyan as ayaghahe-pairish- 
hvakhta; Yt. XIII. 45 represents the fravashis to be ayb-vereihra 
(this epithet is proved to be a later addition for the sake of res- 
toring the original metre) ; Yt. X. 112 says of Mithra that he was 
zaranyO'V&refhman ; also vareman^ ( Yt. V. 1 30) = Skr. varman^ 
meaning perhaps a ** coat-of-mail." Cf,y however, vol. I, p. 239, 
note I. 

■ Comp. vol. I. p. 177. 

* Comp. vol. I. p. 176. 

* Sraoraiha^ Yt. X. 30 ; formed like sraoianu. 


chariots."* The wheel of the chariot seems to have been 
regarded among the Iranians, as is known to have been the 
case among the Indians, as the symbol of world-conquering 
power. At least it is said of Zarathushtra that he first of 
all made the wheel roll over the demons and wicked sons 
of men, that his empire embraced Arians and non-Arians.* 

All this indicates that the chariot-warriors were a dis- 
tinct section of the army. During battle they played a 
part similar to that of the Homeric heroes and the old 
Persian champions in the descriptions of Firdausi. They 
could rarely, however, have taken part in a general melee ; 
it is more likely that before the opposing armies joined 
battle, the chariot-warriors on both sides challenged one 
another to single combat ; or, perhaps in the midst of the 
fray, they looked for opponents of equal rank, whom they 
could match in courage and military skill. 

Each chariot combatant was accompanied by a charioteer. 
To the latter was entrusted a task scarcely less honourable 
or important than that of the former. Skilful management 
of the chariot was not less essential to success than the 
skill and valour of the warrior himself. 

The charioteer in old Iran was for that reason not the 
servant but the devoted friend and companion of the 
combatant,' as was the case among the Indians of the Vedic 
and the Achiiians of the Homeric periods. 

* Fraoihai'Qspa and qanai-chakhra^ Yt. V. 130. 

* Chakhrem - urvaesqya/a, Yt. XIII. 89. The phrase at once 
reminds us of Skr. chakraiii • varlay (Grassmann, Wtb, sub voce) 
and chakravarlin, ** one who causes his chariot-wheels to roll 
freely over all countries; the Ruler of the Universe" {B, R. 
sub voce). However, vr/ and urvis cannot possibly be identified 
in sound. 

' Yt. V. 131: " I pray to thee for the two-armed ones, O 
Anahita, for one two-legged and for one four-legged : for the two- 
legged, who might swiftly approach the chariot and be forward 
in assailing it in battle ; but for the four-legged who might 



According to the Rig-veda, the princess Mudgalani 
drives in battle the team of her husband Mudgala.* In 
the Iliad, Stenelos, son of Capaneus, is the charioteer of 
Diomedes. iEneas himself holds the reins for Pandaros, as 
the latter strives to wound the raging Diomedes. On a 
single chariot stand the two sons of Priam, the bastard An- 
tiphus and the legitimate son Isus, the former as charioteer, 
the latter as combatant. Similarly, the two sons of Anti- 
machus, Pisander and Hippolochus. Cebriones, a natural 
son of Priam, is Hector's charioteer. As Hector alights from 
his chariot in order to storm the wall, Cebriones, too, places 
himself in the ranks of the combatants. Nor is the chariot 
entrusted to an inferior. Patroclus is called the charioteer 
of Achilles, and Coranos, the friend and charioteer of 

The Vendidad describes in one passage the equip- 
ment of the chariot-warrior. In this list there are 
also enumerated the several kinds of defensive armour, 
the coat-of-mail, gorget, beaver, helmet, belt, and 

The coat-of-mail protects the breast from cuts and 
thrusts. We cannot be positive as to the pattern. It 

crush both the wings of the enemy's army, that fight in the broad 
front, in his flight to the left and to the right, to the right and to 
the left." It is plainly the wish of a chariot-warrior for a swift 
charioteer, and for a strong team of horses. We do not avail 
ourselves of the double meaning of the expression Ava • aurvaii/a, 
Aurvat evidently means just the same as Vedic Arvat, the lancer 
as well as the horse. 

* Rv. 10. 102, 2« Comp. also Zimmer, AiL. p. 269. 

" Iliad, Bk. III. 11. 367, 403 seq. ; Bk. V. 11. 107 seq,, 11. 239 
seq., 11. 217 seq. ; Bk. XL 11. 10 1 seq.j 11. 122 seq.^ 11. 521 seq, ; Bk. 
XVI. 11. 726 seq. ) Bk. XII. 11. 91-92 ; Bk. XVII. 11. 426, 616 seq. 

* Zradha^ kuiri, pai/i-dana, saravara (from sara^ " head," and 
vara frorart. var^ ** to protect"), kamara (= Mod. Pers. kamar), 
rana-pana (literally ** the thigh-protecting "). See Vd. XIV. 9, 


may have consisted either of metallic scales or rings of 

Respecting the helmet y we do not know whether it was 
made of leather or of metal. At all events metal ones were 
not unknown. Helmets of brass were worn by the Fravashis 
as well as by Vayu, the wind-yazata^ and by Mithra. It 
is allegorically said that Vayu wore a golden, Mithra a 
silver, helmet.* 

The gorget probably connected the cuirass with the 
helmet. The beaver covered, as a sort of visor, the lower 
part of the face; the cuisses the thigh. The ^^/^ served, 
I believe, as among the Achaians, not merely to support 
the sword but also at the same time to protect the body. 

Regarding the use of the shield we learn very little from 
the Avesta. Apparently it was only seldom used. At all 
events the yazata Ashi and the Fravashis are represented 
as shield-bearers. ' 

We have abundant allusions to offensive weapons. 

The most ancient was the club.^ Every knotted piece 
of wood could serve as such. Plates or knobs of metal 
were used to increase its tremendous weight. Clubs are 
the special weapon of the good spirits, who are armed for 
fighting in the manner known to the earliest antiquity. 

"When the evil-minded malefactor hastens hither 
with speedy steps, then Mithra, the lord over 

* This is confirmed by the Mod. Pers. word zirah, which 
especially denotes a coat-of-mail, as well as by the derivation of 
zradha from rt. zrad = Skr. hrad^ " to clatter." In Sanskrit 
hradin means •* the warrior," also " the thunderbolt of Indra," 
hrada, '* the noise or clanging." 

* Ayd'khaodha,YLXlll. 4$; Zaranyo-khaodha, Yt XV. 57; 
comp. vol. I. p. 213. 

» Spdra-ddsh/a, Yt. XIII. 35; XIX. S4 (Mod. Vers, sipar, 
'* scutum'*). 

* The club already occurs in the Gathas as vadare (Skr. 
vadhat\ Ys. XXXII, 10. Also the weapon with which Hauma 
dashes down the evil-doer is called vadhare (Ys. IX, 30 seq,). 



wide fields, yokes his bright chariot ; and Srausha 
and Ashi, the bold^ and Naryosangha, the mira-. 
culously powerful, swing vigorously their danger- 
ous clubs." ^ 
Clubs were used both for throwing and for striking. 
The missile club was particularly the weapon of Srausha.^ 
It was fastened to the girdle,' as was also the custom of 
the most ancient warriors of the North.* 

The missile clubs were often angular, and therefore 
proved very effective. They were also mounted with 
studs and tipped with brass. Perhaps they were cast in 
solid metal. At least so it is said of the club of Miihra, 
which,of course with the usual exaggeration as to numbers, 
is described by the A vesta in the following manner : 

*^ He holds fast with the hand his club, the hundred* 
knobbed, the hundred-edged, the down-crashing 
one, annihilating men, which is cast in light-^ 
coloured brass, strong, gold-coloured (brass) ; 
the most powerful of all weapons, the most 
victorious of all weapons." ^ 
The club especially employed for striking was also shod 
with brass.^ It is referred to as the weapon of Mithra, 

* Yt. X. $2. Here the club is denoted by vudha^ akin to 
VAdhare, from rt. vadh^ ** to strike, to kill.'' 

■ Kfl«rtf=Skr. vajrat is decribed in Yt. X. 96 and 132 as a 
zaena^ '* a missile " (from rt. 3/=r Skr. hi) comp. hefi\ " a javelin." 
Even by Ma^na in Yt, X. 141 is to be understood the club. 
The word, which usually denotes the handling of the vagra, is 
ni'Vtj, "to swing down, to dash down." C/. the e^iihei hum'vik/i/a. 

* Hence Vd. XVIII. 30 speaks of the laying down of the vazra, 
npa-yu/f " to unfasten." 

* Weinhold, Ai/nordisches Lehen, p. 202. According to Arnold, 
('• German Antiquity," p. 274), clubs for smiting and for throwing 
were also used by the ancient Germans. 

* Yt. X, 96 and 132. 

* Gadha, Yt, X. loi ; used with the epithet ayaghaena, Yt. X. 
131. The verb used with it is m'-Jafh " to dash down." 



who crushes with it his enemy, man and horse at once. 
Similarly, Kersaspa, a hero of Iranian antiquity, is styled 
the club-bearer.' 

The Chakusha^ must have been a weapon of a similar 
kind to the club. It is described as made of copper and 
double-pointed. Consequently, it was a pole-axe of metal, 
either end of which could be equally used. It is said of the 
Fravashis that they cause the Chakusha to reach the 
object at which it is thrown. 

One of the most primitive weapons was the sling. 
Hence we find it in use amongst the most diverse, if 
not amongst all, nations inhabiting the globe.^ If handled 
with dexterity, it is in no way to be despised. In old Iran, 
its form must have been almost the same as among other 

The usual number of sling-stones,* which the Iranians 
were accustomed to carry with them, was thirty. While 
the force of an arrow depended upon the elasticity of the 
bow-string, strength of arm was essential to the effective 
use of the sling.^ 

Like the sling the iowvfais used for fighting at a distance, 
but was probably regarded as superior in effect to the 

* Gadhavara, Ys. IX. lo; Yt. XIII. 6i. Gadha (masc.) means 
** robber, murderer," then, apparently, ** club-bearer." 

* Chakusha {haosafnaeni-bita^gha^ Yt. X. 1 30 , iaegha, " point" ; 
ddray " corner, edge") or chakush, Aku and chaku are similar 

' Tylor, Anfdnge der CuUur, I. pp. 66, 74. 

* Asna OTMrsh/va ^fradakhshanya {ixom/radakhshana^ " sling"), 
Yt. X. 39. 

* Hence fradakhshana • snavare-lazura • ma\. • thn's&s -/radakh- 
shanydish, **2i sling, that has the arm for the string, with 30 
sling- stones," Vd. XIV. 9 (c/. Vd. XVII. 9-1O). Asatto • aremo- 
shu/a, "sling-stones thrown by means of the arm,*' Yt. XIII. 72. 

* Thanvan, /hanvare, •' bow," certainly,=Skr, </Aa»z^a« ; ^j and 
sndvare, ** string." 



It was formed of a curved piece of elastic wood, tKe two 
ends of which were fastened by means of a string made of 
the sinews of cattle.' When the bow was not used, the 
string was loosened in order not to deprive the wood of 
its flexibility. The tightening of the bow-string before the 
commencement of a battle is compared to the harnessing 
of the horse to the chariot.* 

The Fravashis are armed with bows and kill the demons 
with their missiles. This weapon bears in the Avesta the 
expressive name of " battle-victor/' which proves that it 
was in high favour with the Iranians.' 

As regards the arrow,^ the different parts of it are to be 
distinguished. The shaft consisted, I believe, of a reed or 
a thin twig. The lower end at which the arrow rested on 
the string was called the *' foot/' and was generally made 
of horn.^ The arrow-head was made of brass, and was 
similarly called the " mouth," since it drank the enemy's 
blood.® Below the point were fixed barbs of brass 
*' sprouts," which were intended to render more difficult the 
extraction of the arrow from the wound. ^ 

The shaft was adorned with feathers, which likewise 

• Hence gavasnahe • snavya * jyay Yt. X. 128. 

• Thanjy "to harness" (in the epithets thakhia and hva- 
thakhia) is said of the bow just as it is usually of the horse elsewhere. 

• Yt. XIII. 45.^ r^2a3>4/ from 5r<r0j," fight," andyV, "toconquer." 

• *' Arrow t'* t9hu{:=,S\iT,ishu\a8ti(ivomxooia(jh, *• to throw," 
from which is derived aghu, Yt. XIII. 46), iighri ("the point*'; 
cf. Skr. tigma, Old Iranian stij\ ** point of a weapon, '* Yt. X. 71), 
mana, Ys. LVII. 28. 

• Srvi'S/qyandm (Yt. X. 1 29) is an epithet applied to ishundm. 
Srvi comes from sru, **horn," and staya I derive from j/a, "to 
stand," thus " possessing a horny foot." 

• Ayo-aghra, '* with brazen point," Vd. XIV. 9. Comp. ydsya 
dyo mukham, "the mouth of which is brass," Rig-veda, 7, 75, 
15. Zaranyo-sa/ra, "with brazen mouth" (Yu X. 129), poetically 
said of the arrow of Mithra. 

' Ayaghaena • spar eg ha^ Yt. X. 1 29. 


increased the velocity of the arrow. The same practice is found 
among the old Indians* who preferred the feathers of vultures 
and falcons for the purpose of ornamenting the arrow.® 

The number of arrows which they were wont to carry 
with them was the same as the number of sling-stones^ and 
they were placed in a quiver.^ 

Erkhsha is regarded in the A vesta as one of the most 
powerful archers. According to tradition, be is said to have 
shot with his arrow from the Khshautha mountain to the 
Qanvat mountain.* 

Mithra is likewise armed with a bow, since he sends 
forth rays or darts of the sun. 

The arrow is the symbol of swiftness. Hence it is said 
of the horses which drew the chariot of Srausha, that they 
were swifter than the rain-clouds, swifter than a well- 
darted arrow.* 

In the Vedic antiquity the bow is esteemed as the noblest 
of weapons. " It helps towards dominion and glory, and 
remains even in the hand of the dead until the last moment 
before burial."^ 

" The bow allows us to conquer cattle. 
With it we stand victorious in hot battles ; 
The bow creates discomfort to the enemy, 
With it we conquer all the lands! ^' ^ 

With the Avesta people it is rather the spear which plays 
so important a part. In ihe enumeration of weapons it is 
named first, then follows the sword, then the club, and then 
only the bow with quiver and arrows ; lastly, the sling and 
the sling-stones.^ 

* Zimmer, AiL, p. 300. 

' Hence the epithets kahrkasb-parena and erezi/yo-parena. Cf. 
Osiiranische Kultur^ pp. 163-164. 

* Vd. XIV. 9, zaeni or akana may mean a " quiver." 

* Yt. VIII. 6 and 37. Comp. vol. I. p. 2. 

* Ys. LVII. 28, ^. vol. I. p. 176. • Zimmer, -4 rZ. p. 298. 
' Rig-veda, 6, 75, 2. • Vd. XIV. 9. 

jvniu. ^a^^^^V. JUttS^-SBPiHW^lMBSPVHSMBH^ 


The weapons effective in close combat likewise precede 
those suitable for distant fighting. With the old Indians 
the case was the reverse. The reason of this probably lies 
in the fact that the old Iranian warriors particularly prac- 
tised close fighting in their more uneven territory. The 
Vedic Arians on the plains of the Panjab must, on the 
contrary, have exercised themselves principally in wielding 
the bow. 

The spear-head appears to have been edged. Conse- 
quently, the spear* receives the epithets " well-sharpened, " 
'* pointed," *' sharp as an axe.'^^ Its length also is referred 
to as worthy of note, " With a long and pointed spear*' 
is an epithet applied to Mithra as the bold champion in 
all battles ; it is likewise used of warriors generally.^ 

The spear was thrown. Whether the lance for thrusting 
was also known cannot be determined, I believe the 
charioteers first shot from a distance with their arrows, 
then they hurled their javelins, and lastly, when it came to 
close fighting, they, like the Homeric heroes, drew their 



** Away flies the spear, which an opponent of Mithra 
hurls, on account of the many vicious sayings 
which a Mithra-deceiver utters.* 

" The pointed spears of the Mithra-deceivers, the well- 
sharpened, long-shafted ones, which fly from the 
arras, (and) do not hit the mark, when, irritated 

* The spear is called arsh/i = Skr. rshU\ Often arsh/i is 
specially used for the shaft, wherefore the spear itself may be 
called daregha^arshfz. Also dru in darshi-dru and khrvi-dru — 
*• with frightful and bloody spear " — is a designation of the spear, 
just as dauru ( = Skr. ddru, ** wood ") and sura ( = Skr, quia.) 

* Hukhshnuia, iighra, Yt. X. 39 ; baroiihrb-laezha^ Yt. X. 
130 {haroithra from rt. bar =Mod. Pers, buridan^ ** to cut.") 

» Yt. X. 102 ; XVll. 12. 

* Yt. X. ao. 



and embittered and raging, approaches Mithra^ the 
lord over wide fields."* 

The sword of the old Iranian seems to have been a short 
weapon of handsome form like a cutlass. This we may 
infer from the same word being also a designation of the 
surgical knife of the physician.^ It was made of brass and 
was double-edged,' fastened to the girdle and borne either 
naked or in a scabbard. It was drawn when one had to 
fight at close quarters.* 

The hilt of the sword was ornamented with golden 
aglets ; its blade was engraved, as it seems, with marks 
and figures. Such a richly-decorated sword is worn by 
Verthraghna, tho yasata presiding over victory.* 

Lastly, I further mention the dagger. Riders made use 
of it to goad on their steeds; nevertheless it is also found 
employed in fighting.^ 

Yima carries a gold-adorned dagger as a token of his 
sovereign power ; ^ likewise, Mithra bears this weapon ; ® 
and, lastly, the heroes with rattling chariots and snorting 
steeds are^also styled "daggers-swinging.'' ® 

• Yt. X. 39. Comp. Yt. X. 139, wherein it is said that the spears 
of Mithra, obeying the heavenly will, fly towards the head of the 

• Kareta, "sword, knife"; comp. Skr. krti^ Rv. I. 168. 3, 
a weapon of the Marut. 

• Ayaghaenat Vd. IV. 50 (in Ys. XXXII. 7 ayagh is used just 
as the German '' Siahr for the "murderous weapon"); 
uvayo-ddrat Yt. X. 131. 

• Hufrayukhia^ "well-girded," Yt. X. 40; hufraghar^ia, 
'* well-drawn," Yt. XIII. 72. Comp. Skr. prasrj. 

» Yt. XIV. 27. 

• Yt. X. 113. 

' A^tram • zaranyo-paesim, Vd. II. 7. 

• A%\draghadK Yt. X. II2. 

• Yt* V. 13O; XVII. 7: khshvaewayaXra'ScJra. 



§ 3. Legal Rights. 

In treating of the legal usages of the Avesta people 
we meet with considerable difficulty. The sources which 
are at our disposal are all derived from the priesthood. 
All legal ideas and the institutions which they record 
represent essentially the views of the sacerdotal class.* 

The earliest mode of vindicating one's right was 
certainly self-redress or revenge.^ This right of retalia- 
tion was first restrained by the tribunal of the commonalty, 
which was formed, we may be sure, amongst the old 

* [Comp. Prof. M.Dunckcr, Geschichte dts Alter ihums\ Abbott s 
ed. vol. V. p. 201 : '* The rules concerning purity and purifica- 
tion, the expiations and penances necessary to avert the evil, 
which we possess in the Vendidad of the Avesta, are only the 
remnant of a far more comprehensive law. From the list of books 
and chapters traditional among the Parsees, we can see that it 
was intended to include not only all the invocations and prayers 
which the worship required, the rules of sacrifice and the entire 
ritual, together with the calendar of the ecclesiastical year, but 
also of the arrangement of the process of law, the civil and 
criminal code, and, moreover, rules for agriculture and medicine. 
If to this we add the statements and quotations of the Greeks, 
we may assume that the scriptures of Eastern Iran, comprised the 
whole knowledge of the (ancient) priesthood. In the Avesta the 
Athravas had sketched the ideal picture of the correct conduct 
pleasing to Ahura Mazda in every department of life. How far 
the princes of Bactria and the viceroys of Cyaxares and the 
Achaemenids, or even these princes themselves, and the judges, 
wished or allowed themselves to be bound in their decisions by 
these regulations of the priests, may be left out of the question. 
The priests here, like the Brahmans in India, could only influence 
the action of the State and those charged with it, so far as the 
reverence for the principles of religion and the force of their own 
authority extended." TV. «.] 

■ Kaena = Mod. Pers. kin and kinah. 



Iranians in no less natural a way than amongst the other' 
Indo-Germanic peoples. Most probably it was composed 
of the fully-authorized members of a village-community, 
in which the oldest member presided. The latter was the 
actual judge who pronounced the decision.^ 

This tribunal had principally to decide upon the quarrels 
inevitable in civil life and which concerned the meum et 
tuunit disputes respecting boundaries, injuries to reputa- 
tion and the like. Hence we may conclude that they can 
play no considerable part in the Vendidad. 

If the Vendidad were a civil code, these very trials 
must occupy a large space. But in my opinion it is not 
so. For here we only meet with those causes wherein 
the priesthood reserved jurisdiction to themselves or 
added an ecclesiastical punishment to that of the secular 
judge. In such petty causes as those first referred to, 
the priests evidently renounced their right of jurisdiction, 
which would otherwise have imposed upon them a great 
burden without materially adding to their authority and 

Self-redress was, no doubt, mostly resorted to in cases 
of bodily hurt or murder. Blood demanded blood in return. 
If a free man had been slain by another, it was considered 
a right — nay, in the oldest times, a duty — to slay the 
murderer and so to expiate the crime. 

» Vichira (Ys. XXIX. 4, and Ys. XLVI. S) seems to be a 
name for the judge. The latter passage, which is very difficult to 
explain, apparently alludes to such a tribunal of the commonalty. 
Terms referring to right and law are not at all wanting, and 
they even directly prove the existence of a well-organized 
system. ** Right," I believe, is designated by ika^sha or data* 
IJrvakhshaya'm Ys. IX. lo is distinctly called a ** judge " (Jkaeshb • 
daio-razo). Evidently he was greatly renowned for his decisions. 
We may easily conceive that *' right " was regarded as a 
creation and gift of Ahura and Zarathushtra (Vsp. II. 11 ; Ys. 
XVI. 2, etc.) 



I believe that the custom of blood-feuds existed amongst 
the Eastern Iranians. Yet we must suppose that the 
Zoroastrian religion sought to restrain it, although it may 
never have succeeded in completely abolishing this system 
of revenge. Doubtless it continued to exist in full force 
against the non-Zoroastrians. 

The incessant wars waged by the Iranians against the 
Turanians originated, according to the legend, in fulfilling 
this duty of revenging bloodshed. Sydvarshan^ the son^ 
of Kavi Usan, was slain by the Turanians. His grand- 
son^ Kavi Husrava, takes the field against Frangrasyan to' 
revenge the outrage. 

The origin of this legend can undoubtedly be traced to the 
Avesta. Here the genius Hauma, who aids the good 
cause, addresses to Druvaspa the following prayer: — 

*' Grant me that I may fetter the pernicious Turanian 
Frangasyan^ and that I may bring him bound 
and in fetters to Kavi Husrava; that Kavi 
Husrava may kill him behind the Lake Chaichasta, 
the deep, broad-waving, (Kavi Husrava) the son 
of the daughter of Syavarshan, of the cruelly slain 
man and of the Naruid 4ghrairatha,^^ ' 

Another instance of revenge for bloodshed is mentioned 
in the Avesta in the family of Kersaspa. The brother of 
this hero has fallen by the hand of Hitaspa and is to be 
revenged. Therefore Kersaspa prays : — 

" Grant me, O Vayu, that I may revenge the blood of 
my brother Urvakhshaya ; that I may kill Hitaspa 
and drag him behind my chariot."* 

The first check upon the right of retaliation is effected 
by enabling the murderer to secure immunity by means 
of an adequate compensation in money. This peaceable 
compensation can be much more easily effected in cases of 

* Yt. IX. i8 ; XVII. 37. Cf, Yt. IX. 22 ; XVII. 42. 

• Yt. XV. 28. 



mere bodily injury than in those of actual murder. Such 
a compensation in money is called weregild.^ At first, 
I believe, the injured person was free to accept the weregild 
or to demand blood for blood. 

Wherever the State begins to cultivate the administration 
of justice and endeavours to restrain the freedom of self- 
redress, it will start with the institution of a weregild. 
Under certain circumstances the injured person is compelled 
to accept this money ; under others he must abide by the 
verdict of the common-council ; or, again, under others he 
is left to his choice. 

So it was with the Avesta people. The weregild was well 
known to them. The Vendidad inculcates to the followers 
of Zoroastrianism not to refuse the weregild if offered in 
expiation of some deed of bloodshed. 

Amongst the Avesta nation the regular weregild was 
paid chiefly in cattle and other kinds of moveable pro- 
perty. In most serious cases even women and maidens 
were offered, who were, I believe, married to the new 

It is characteristic that the Vendidad mentions a 
"spiritual" mode of compensation, which probably consisted 
in some ecclesiastical atonement.* 

* [In old English law weregild was the price or compensation 
paid by the murderer to the king for a man killed, partly to the lord 
of the vassal, and partly to the next-of-kin. Vide Webster, 7>. «.] 

• The passage of the Vendidad (IV. 44) referring to the were- 
gild comes immediately after the passage treating of bodily hurt. 
It runs thus: "If people come, fellow-believers, relatives, or 
friends, to expiate (sha^to-chinagho, cf. vol. I. p. 221, note 2) by 
money, or with (giving in marriage') a woman {nairi-chinagho), or 
in the spiritual way (khratu-chinagho) — if they will expiate by 
money they shall bring up the money ; if by a woman, they shall 
give in marriage a young maiden (to the person offended) ; if in 
the spiritual way, they shall recite the Holy Word, *' Etymologically 
chinagh is of course connected with chiiha^ '^ expiation, punish- 
ment. " 


With the Afghans blood-feuds and the weregild continue 
to the present day. 

Families and houses are constantly engaged in quarrels 
and feuds. Family dissensions, provoked by deeds of 
bloodshed, fill up the whole life of an Afghan with hatred, 
enmity, and assassination. Legally this old custom of 
revenge for bloodshed is indeed prohibited ; but secretly 
and under the cover of dissimulation hatred continually 
smoulders^ to blaze forth on the first opportunity. The 
number of persons killed on both the sides is exactly 
known. Every one knows how many of the opposite 
party still must die to fill up the measure of vengeance. 
Until this is done, there is no rest or quiet. 

Thus it happens that the blood-feud often continues 
through several generations, exacts numerous victims, and 
ruins the happiness and peace of all families. 

. • 

We have now to treat of those features of the Law, 
which are enumerated in the Vendidad as subject to the 
competence of the priesthood. Transgressions against 
the ritual and ceremonial are the most frequent. Here 
it is likewise the special right and duty of the clergy to 
inflict punishment and to maintain their authority. 

Punishments are prescribed for the non-exposure of dead 
bodies or for burying them. It is also regarded as a 
punishable act to throw a carcass on the ground ; likewise 
to leave a corpse on the dakhma insecurely fastened, so 
that wild beasts carry away pieces of it. It is also 
punishable if one spreads new clothes over a dead body, 
or cultivates a piece of ground before it has been purified 
in the manner prescribed in the Avesta. 

To these must be added transgressions against morality, 
particularly sexual intercourse with menstruating women, 
which are punished on the same principle. In short, 
Vvherever the Vendidad lays down a ritual precept, it also 



at the same time adds the punishment which shall be 
inflicted upon the guilty in case of transgression.* 

It is strange, and can only be explained from the 
peculiar views of the Zoroastrians, that also the ill-feeding 
and maltreatment of dogs were prosecuted as criminal.* 
But we must not here forget that the dog was reputed a 
sacred animal, and was esteemed in the same way as man. 
Furthermore, it is characteristic, as regards the legal 
obligations of the Mazdayasna, that all compacts ought to 
be scrupulously maintained,' and their violation strictly 
punished. Even towards unbelievers the Mazdayasna 
was obliged to respect every agreement.* 

There were different kinds of agreement, varying 

according to the manner in which they were concluded, 

and according to the value of the object given in pledge. 

'* The first {kind of) agreement is that made by the 

given word ; the second is made by a pledge with 

the hand {t,e,, by a hand-stroke) ; the third has 

the value of a head of small cattle (i.e., a head of 

small cattle was given as security) ; the fourth 

has the value of a head of large cattle; the fifth has 

the value of a man ; the sixth has the value of 

a piece of ground." * 

* Vd. V. 14; III. 36 j(f^. ; VI. 4 se^.; V. 43; VIII. 26 seg. ; 
XVIII. 67 etc. The stereotyped expression is^yezi noit , . . ka hi 
astichitha '* if (it is) not (done), what is the punishment for it?" 

■ Vd. XIII. 12 seq,^ 20 seq, ; XV. 50-51. Cf. vol. I. p. 195. 

■ Mithra^ " contract, agreement " ; urvaiii^ " mutual promise." 
SeevoX. I. p. 164, The relation between employer and workman 
is considered to be a contract, Vd, HI. 35 {ZddmG. vol. XXXIV. 

p. 42s). 

* In Yt. X. 2, it is -expressly stated : ** The compact is binding 
on both (/. e, the opposite parties), on the pious as well as on the 
wicked ones." 

* Vd. IV, 2. Here danhu of course does not denote " country ** 
in its political sense but simply *• land, landed property, real 
estate." It is impossible that pasu, staora, etc., can in this 



Evidently any agreement whatever could be ranged under 
one of these six categories, according as it was to be made 
more or less binding. The mere word, or the giving of the 
hand, was sufficient to give legal value to an agreement. 
But to gain greater security, a pledge of more or less 
value was often demanded; or it was even freely offered to 
enhance one's obligation. 

When the agreement was not kept, the pledge was 
forfeited. This might include, as we have seen, even 
persons. Probably the person himself who made the 
bargain, or one of his near relations, stood bail or surety. 
If the engagement was not fulfilled the surety lost his 
liberty, and his life and property were forfeited to the 

passage signify the object of the contract. In this case the two 
first kinds would not agree with the following, since with these 
no object is generally named. That this view of mine is correct, 
is proved by what follows in the text which evidently contains 
a more detailed description of the different kinds of contract : 
•' The given word confirms the first kind of contract ; something 
that has the value of a handstroke {or the offering of the hand as 
pledge of a solemn promise) effects the second kind, j>., some- 
thing that has the value of a handstroke must be offered as 
a pledge of the agreement. Something that has the value of a 
sheep makes the third kind of contract, 2>., something that has the 
value of a sheep must be offered as a pledge in making the 
agreement. Something that has the price of an ox or cow effects 
the fourth kind, r^., something of the value of a head of cattle 
must be offered as a pledge of the agreement. Something that has 
the value of a man concludes the fifth kind of contract, />., 
something must be offered that has the worth of a man. Some- 
thing that is worth a field confirms the sixth kind of contract, ?>., 
something of the price of a field must be offered (as a pledge) in 
concluding the agreement." Fra-marez (Vd. IV. 3-4) must be the 
expression denoting the making of a contract. This is proved by 
the compound zasio marsh/a, ** confirmed by the handstroke." It 
is surprising that of the second kind it is not simply said as of the 
first zas/d • bi/im • mithrem • kerenaoiti; but that here a pledge is 

^8 STAT^ At^D LAWS. 

opposite party. If I am not mistaken; in case of a broken 
agreement^ the relations of a debtor in general might be 
called to account, so that they were obliged to answer for 
the payment of the amount of compensation.^ 

Finally, I mention cases of bodily injury which, as the 
Vendidad says, were punished according to the complete 
or at least partial competence of the priesthood. 

Even a simple attack upon a person was regarded as 
culpable ; every repetition of the offence considerably 
enhanced the guilt. Corporal injuries were punished 
according to the consequences caused to the injured 

The Vendidad, therefore, distinguishes the following 
transgressions :— • 

If a man streches out the hand to give a blow to 
another it is an Agerpta, an ''attack." If one lays hands 
on another it is an Avaurishia^ a " surprise." 

By these two transgressions the Vendidad seems to 
understand such as were committed without any evil preme- 
ditation, perhaps provoked by anger and passion. For it 
says further on : '' If a man attacks any person with 
a malicious intention it is an Ardush. By the fifth of the 
ardush'Sins the body is forfeited." ^ 

I do not think any peculiar kind of wounding is signified 
by Ardush, Bodily hurt is even spoken of more widely 
and under the threat of greater punishments. Firstly, the 
Vendidad speaks of the wound which bleeds but a little ; 
secondly, the wound from which the blood flows ; then 

' This, at least, seems to be the meaning of the passage Vd, IV. 
S-io, although I do not fully understand the connection of this 
passage with the following. 

■ Vd. IV. 7. Agerpta is derived from a and garew ; avaoirt^Yifa 
perhaps from ava and urvis ( cf. Sk. vracchy " to hew, to split ") ; 
arfdush certainly comes from the root ared = Skr. r</., *' to torment, 
to hurt, to violate." 



the stroke by which a bone is broken ; finally, any injury 
which causes insensibility.* 

Let us now examine the kinds of punishment prescribed 
by the Vendidad for these different crimes. They prove 
clearly that the Vendidad is, indeed, only a legal code 
instituted by the priesthood and entirely independent of 
secular judgments and tribunals. 

Capital punishment is not unheard of. Yet it is charac- 
teristic enough that the Vendidad does not assign it to 
murder or manslaughter. It is instead awarded to any 
one who exercises priestly functions without being com- 
petent and without having the necessary knowledge^ 

But, finally, the form of punishment by far most common/ 
in the Vendidad is that by mean's of updzana^ which word is 
regularly translated by *' stripe or stroke," more correctly 
by '* bringing in or delivery." ^ 

• I have often put to myself the question whether by 
updzanas are to be understood stripes that are inflicted on 
the culprit. 

* Vikhrumentem • qarem^ tachat-vohunim • qarem, astb-bidhem • 
qartniy fraza-haodhaghem • snaihem. Vd. IV. 30, 34, 37, 40. The 
last expression is translated by Dr. Justi : ** depriving of one's 
life." This seems to be incorrect. Baodhagh must be translated 
" sensibility, consciousness." If murder were meant, it is certain 
that a far more severe punishment must have been fixed, parti- 
cularly in relation to the trespasses immediately preceding, 

• Vd. IX. 47, 49. Also Vd. IV. 50, alludes to capital punish- 
ment, specially to decapitation by the sword. The words are: 
Ayaghaendi^* kare/dish • azdebish • pai/i • ava-kerethyd\.. The 
intrinsic connection of the passage is quite obscure. 

*• Updzana is derived from upa and az = Sanskrit upa-aj^ " to 
drive by." Tradition has erroneously conceived the meaning of 
this word, for it traces it to Phlv. zanishn^ " stroke." [C/. Spiegel, 
£. A, vol. III. p. 696. " Eine der gewohnlichsten Bussen scheint 
des Todten einer Anzahl schadlicher Thiere gewesen zu sein, 
d.arauf scheinen sich die Zutreibungen (nach der Uebersetzung 
Schlage) zu heziehen, von welchen im Vendidad so oft die Rede 
ist." TV. «.] 



I am now of opinion that this is impossible; nay, that 
this supposition contradicts common sense. 

The very instrument that must serve for giving strokes, 
the goad that was used to drive horses, is not quite adapted 
for this purpose. The whip that is mentioned afterwards 
would be more appropriate.* 

Still more striking are the numbers given in the 
Vendidad. Two hundred strokes with the goad and two 
hundred stripes with the whip are indeed very common. 
They are inflicted for bringing fire into an impure dwelling. 
Whoever cultivates a piece of ground polluted by anything 
dead before a year has passed, shall also be liable to the 
same penalty ; nay, even a woman shall be similarly 
punished who drinks water immediately after her delivery.* 
Whoever flings a bone into a field, must receive twice six 
hundred stripes. 

This is simple brutality to which no man on the whole 
earth, not even the most abject and ignorant, would submit.' 
I doubt also very much if any man could have physical 
strength to bear twelve hundred strokes of goad and whip ; 
and certainly neither extraneous nor native testimony 
exhibits the Iranian priests as barbarians and tyrants. Yet 
they would have been so, if they had employed this cruel 
form of bodily chastisement. 

* Aspahe^as^itrajsraosho-charana. M. Darmesteter (Vend. Intro- 
duction, V. § 19), indeed, conjectures that both the Avesta words 
designate the same instrument ; but this opinion is contradicted 
by the words of the text, which always run thus : — 

Uphzana • upazdii • aspahe • a%\itrqya, * sraosko-charanaya, 
■ Vd. V. 44 ; VI. 5 ; VII. 72. 

* [In the absence of any indigenous definition of the word, 
indeed, it is impossible at the present stage of Iranian research 
to give a positive description of the kind of instrument called the 
upazana^ or to found any opinion as regards the legal usages of 
the Avesta people on the mere ground of individual hypothesis. 
TV. «.] 


I also believe that a hierarchy that used such means 
would soon have been overthrown. A single execution of 
this kind, or two, would have sufficed to incite the whole 
people to discontent and revolt. 

The upasana even amount to two thousand. This 
number of stripes is to be inflicted on any one who inters 
dead dogs or men in the earth and does hot disinter 
them within a year,* a transgression which is undoubtedly 
regarded from a Zoroastrian stand-point as a very heavy 
crime. The same punishment is prescribed for spreading 
a new garment over a dead body, as well as for sprinkling 
water over the corpse of a man or dog*^ 

This would be so irrational, so ridiculous, a mode of 
punishment, that even opponents of the Zoroastrian system 
must allow that there cannot be any question here of 
actual blows. But if we are forced to make this conces- 
sion, is it not much more reasonable to say that upazana 
must not be translated by ** stroke or stripe"? 

So it will be advisable to adopt the original opinion of 
Dr. Spiegel concerning the upazana. According to his 
idea the point in question is not respecting the strokes 
or stripes inflicted on the culprit, but on the empire of 
the evil spirits as it were for the sake of compensation. 
The question is regarding the destruction of certain 
obnoxious and impure animals and the delivery of the 
animals killed to the priest. This conception is best 
expressed by the term ''delivery." 

Herodotus relates that the Magi destroy ants, serpents, 
and other creeping and flying animals. The same is 
said by Agathias of the Persians generally ; and he also 
remarks that they bring the animals when killed to their 

* Vd. III. 37. ZddmG. vol. XXXIV. (1880), p. 426, note. 

* Vd. VIII. 25 ; VI. 25. 

* Herodotus, I. 1 40 ; Agathias, II. 24. (y. Spiegel, Commn. 
Vol. I. pp. 109 seq, 



The *' goad '* is evidently a pointed instrument with 
which serpents, toads and similar vermin w^ere destroyed. 
The whip, as Dr. Spiegel supposes, was perhaps a kind of 
fly-flap. The two instruments, as the Vendidad seems to 
indicate, were really made use of for killing similar 

I repeat here that the Vendidad is by no means a civil 
code. It contains only the discipline practised by the 
priesthood. Hence it is self-evident why direct trans- 
gressions against religious precepts are punished most 
severely. If the expiation consisted only in the delivery 
of khrafstras slain, it might also amount to large sums of 
money. And it may be assumed that people must, at 
an early period, have relieved themselves from their 
obligations by the payment of money instead of the 
prescribed penalty. The scourge could never have been 
used to such an extent without provoking opposition. 

Trespasses against public order and security were tried 
before the secular tribunal. Respecting such cases, too, 
does the Vendidad prescribe atonements in some places. 
These were evidently additional to the punishments 
decreed by the secular judge, and the priesthood thereby 
made the people understand that they also partook in 
the vindication of the law. 

But this circumstance will explain, why comparatively 
milder punishments are laid down in the Vendidad for 
those very transgressions. Twice five upazana are 
set down for an agerpta^ twice ten for an avaur/shfa, 
and twice fifteen for an ardush. Furthermore, muti- 
lations of the body are punished with twice thirty, fifty, 
seventy, ninety upazana. On the contrary, for a conta- 
mination, which is merely accidental and by no 
means culpable, no less than twice four hundred upazana 

^ Khrafslraghnem • sraosho-charanaya, Vd. XIV. 8 ; as\iir&m • 
mairiviy Vd. XVIII. 4. 



are prescribed.* This, I think, shows evidently that the 
updzana do not in general bear properly the character 
of a punishment. They are rather a kind of expiation, 
whereby every triumph gained by the empire of evil shall 
be compensated by an equivalent invasion and defeat of 
the same. 

The breaking of an engagement is, according to the 
Avesta, a crime against Mithra, /.^., against God and 
religion. Here, therefore, we meet again with very 
high numbers of updzana. They begin from twice three 
hundred updzana^ and rise to twice a thousand. The 
former are prescribed for breaking one's word, the latter 
for breaking a contract of the sixth and highest kind. 

It is to be observed that, from breaking a givgn word to 
breaking a pledge given by the hand, the expiation 
abruptly rises from twice three hundred to twice six 
hundred updzana. After this it rises for each distinct 
kind of breach of contract by one hundred updzana 

Sometimes it may have happened that the perpetrator 
of some crime could not be fouad out with certainty. To 
clear up doubts the ordeal was resorted to. People 
believed that God himself would decide in a supernatural 
way, and would bring to light guilt and innocence. 

The ordeal was an institution common to all Indo- 
Germanic peoples. 

The Indians principally made use of the ordeal by fire, 
which consisted in taking an oath while holding in the hand 
some burning object, probably a red-hot hatchet. Besides 

^ Thus Vd. VIII. 104, Here the question refers to a man who 
has come in contact with a corpse in the desert. The precept 
is that he must go immediately to the nearest village or hamlet, 
in order to be purified. If on his way he passes by water or 
plants, these are sullied by him. This sin must be expiated by an 
adequate and rather considerable number of updzana. 



this, a series of other ordeals was known, in which those by 
water and poison were considered the most formidable.^ 

Among the ancient Germans, too, some causes were 
occasionally decided by means of ordeals. It was quite 
in keeping with their warlike spirit that a duel between 
the two contending parties, or trial by combat, was preferred 
as an ordeal.^ 

Firdusi doubtless supposes the ordeal to have been 
customary with the Persian people from time immemorial. 
I only mention the account of SiySvush, who cleared himself 
from the ignominious calumnies of Sud5be by the ordeal by 

He rode on horseback between two huge burning piles 
of wood and issued from the flames safe and sound amidst 
the loud acclamations of the people. His innocence was 
thus thought to have been proved.' 

The Vendidad alludes to an ordeal performed with 
boiling water.* Yet the context is altogether obscure. 
Whoever appealed to such an ordeal in a frivolous 
manner, was, it seems, punished with twice seven hundred 

We must doubtless conclude from the Gathas, that in 
doubtful cases the will and judgment of the Deity was 
understood from the flames of the (sacred) fire : — 

^* The sentence which Thou, O Spirit, gavest through 
Fire in a holy manner to the two litigant parties. 
The doctrine to the attentive : These announce unto 
us, O Mazda, that we may know it 

* Zimmer, AiL, pp. 183-184. 

■ Arnold, •'German Antiquity," p. 34 1. 

■ C/. Spiegel, E. A, vol. I. pp. S97-S98. 

* Eam-iaptibyo • aiwyo • chhkhrare • nerebyo^ Zarathu^hlra, (Vd, 
IV. 46). Cf, Vd. IV, 54 apem • saokeniavaiiim • zaranydvaifim • 

' Vd. IV. SS' 



With the tongue of Thy mouth, that I may convert 
thereby all living men to ( Thy) faith." * 
It seems that some apostle of the Zoroastrian doctrine here 
appeals to a (ire oracle in order to prove his divine mission. 
How this was done, we do not know. "The bursting of 
flames, the rising spark, the crackling of fuel and the shapes 
taken by smoke, are but a symbolical language, at least 
as easy to understand as the rustling of the oak at Dodona^ 
or the feeding of chickens, or the appearance of the 
intestines of animals/'* 

An actual ordeal by means of fire and molten metal is 
meant in the following passage : — 

" The sentence which Thou gavest to the two litigant 

parties by Thy red fire, O Mazda, 
And by molten metal, to set a mark among living 

To hurt the demons, but to give help to the just 
Finally, I shall quote a strophe containing, in my opinion, 
a prayer spoken before the beginning of the ordeal. The 
accused person who undergoes it, apparetly invokes the 
Deity to evince the truth by some token :— 
" I will conceive Thee as the strong and the blissful, 

That by Thy hand, with which thou bestowest help, 
Since Thou gavest judgment on the wicked and the just 
By the glow of Thy strong fire, in holiness. 
May the victory of the pious mind fall to my lot/'* 

* Ys. XXXI. 3: Rana is certainly not = Skr. aratii as Haug 
supposes. This is etymologically impossible. That I have correctly 
translated the word by •* combatant, litigant party," is probably 
proved from Ys. XLIIL 4, which is quoted below. 

• Roth, Yaqna, XXXI. p. 20. * Ys. LI. 9. 

^ Ys. XLIII. 4. Ashi^ is here used in the same sense and 
connection as khshnuiem in the two other passages; but in 
dregraile - ashaunaecha it is used as ramibya in other passages. 

Organization of Professions. 

§ 4. The Priestliood. 

It cannot be denied that the Avesta concedes to the 
priesthood a position of the highest eminence in the old 
Iranian commonwealth.* Wherever the different profes- 
sions are named together, the priests stand first in the 
enumeration. Their calling is reputed the noblest, and 
they alone formed to some extent a sort of caste distinct 
from the rest of the community. 

We will understand this circumstance more fully if we keep 
in view the character and tendency of the Avesta. I have 
no hesitation in regarding it as a work much less national 

* [Comp. Max, Duncker, Geschichie dts Alter thums, (The His- 
tory of Antiquity), Abbott's ed. vol. V. pp. 187-189. 

" The priesthood could very well claim precedence of the 
warriors; on their prayers and sayings, their knowledge of the 
custom of sacrifice, depended the favour of the divinities, the power 
of averting evil spirits, the removal of pollution, salvation in this 
world and the next. Yet they could not obtain such a position as 
the Brahmans held on the Ganges after the reform of the ancient 
faith and the victory of Brahma over Indra. For in Iran there 
was no order of ^udras, no vanquished remnant of an old popula- 
tion, which created a sharp line of division even among the orders 
of the Aryas ; and moreover the Brahmans were the first-born of 
Brahma, a purer incarnation of the divine nature than any other 
. . . While the priests of Iran in their lives studied especially 
purity of body and mind ; and they were pre-eminently " the pure 
men." Only by their means, at any rate with their assistance, 
could sacrifice be offered ; from their mouths alone could the 
correct invocations be uttered to the divine beings and the evil 
ones be driven away. . . . The priesthood of Iran perpetuated 
their knowledge and their wisdom in their families." TV. /i.] 



than the Rig-veda. It is rather a code of the priesthood, 
written in their own interest, and especially representing 
their own ideas. Thus the Avesta naturally embodies 
whatever the priests claim for themselves. Similarly, the 
Briihmans of the Indian commonw^ealth declare themselves, 
in the post-Vedic age, the noblest caste, and the earliest 
and purest emanation of the soul of the world. 

Indian literature is much more copious than the IrHnian. 
In the former we can trace how the caste of the Rrahmans 
continued to rise above the rest of the people ; how it 
gained, by degrees, the means of assuming to itself such 
importance and sanctity. 

In the later Avesta we observe the results of an 
analogous process of development. Here also the priest- 
hood can claim to be reputed and considered the first order 
in the State. It is evident that it had a certain, although 
only a moral, preponderance in the commonwealth, and 
that it was regarded with special veneration by the people. 
But the different phases and degrees of this gradual 
development are yet unknown to us. 

Besides, we cannot fairly attribute to the priests of the 
Avesta any inordinate desire for power. They were 
moderate in their claims. Nowhere did they overstep 
the bounds of their natural dominion, their power over 
spirits and their observance of religion and of divine 

Even in the administration of justice, there were but 
few departments in which their authority could clash with 
that of the secular tribunal. Here also they were gene- 
rally restricted to such cases in which jurisdiction wa^ 
their natural right. It can hardly be proved that the priest- 
hood as such encroached, either directly or indirectly, upon 
the government of the State, in which the princes and 
commonwealth evidently enjoyed full liberty, even after 
Zoroastrianism had become the acknowledged and domi- 
nant religion* 


The priests style themselves Aihravans or Atharvans. 
This name is intimately connected with the fire-cult.* 
The tending of the sacred fire, therefore, must have been, 
even at an early period, one of the principal duties of the 
Avesta priest. 

So early as in the remotest Arian antiquity Atharvan 
evidently meant a fire-priest. The word has likewise in 
Indian literature the same, or at least a similar, signi- 

Brihaddiva, a Vedic minstrel, calls himself an Atharvan. 
The Soma priests also, whose duty it is to prepare the sacred 
drink, are called Atkarvans. Finally, the fire-god Agni, too, 
it seems, bears this title. He is himself the priest of men, 
who bears up to heaven prayers and sacrifices in his blazing 

In several passages of the Rig-veda, too, Atharvan appears 
to be a mythical being.' He is the Indian Prometheus 
who brings down the fire of the gods after he has produced 
it by means of friction in the heavenly regions. So we may 
recognize in him the prototype of all Indian priests who 
learned from him their divine ritual and calling.^ 

In the Gathas the word ^thravan does not occur. This is 
of course strange, since the context certainly offers fre- 
quent occasion for naming the Zoroastrian priesthood as 

^ AthravaUy Atharvan, The fqrmer name may be connected, 
I believe, with cLtarcy •*fire." The th is explained by the r follow- 
ing. The latter name, on the other hand, must be explained 
differently. I refer it to Skr, atharyu^ •* flaming," which is in 
Rv. 7. I. I. the epithet of Agni, and also to athari^ "flame," in 
atharyo nd duntam^ Rv. 4. 6. 8. 

• Rv. 10. 120. 8 ; 9. II. 2 ; 8. 9. 7, 

• In Rv. I. 80. 16. Atharvan is identified with the Father 
Manu and with Dadhyach. In Rv. 6. 16. 4. he is called the 
son of Dadhyach. In Rv. I. 83. 5. it is he who first prepared, 
by offering sacrifice, the way to the gods. In Rv. 10. 87. 12. 
Atharvan, like Agni, seems to be the Lord of Lightning. 

• Rv. 6. 16. 13; 10. 12. s. C/> Rv. 6. 15. 17. 


such. Evidently, therefore, the word had, in the oldest 
period, no official and solemn collective appellation. 

The conditions described in the Gathas were completely 
immature and undeveloped. On the contrary, the hymns 
launch us into an epoch of mighty social and religious 
agitation. The doctrine of Zarathushtra was evidently not 
yet generally acknowledged. It was still struggling for 
existence. It was just beginning to diffuse itself among 
the people. 

In such times it was quite impossible for the Iranian 
priests to form themselves into an exclusive, compact, 
organized body* Before the religion preached by priests 
had completely taken root in the hearts of the people, 
before peace and repose had taken the place of national 
conflict, no priestly order could exist. The elevation of 
the Brahmans, too, dates from a period of transition in 
which the Indian people passed from an epoch of warfare 
and conquest, into one of comfortable repose and 
undisturbed tranquillity. 

In the era represented by the Gathas, there were, it is 
true, priests and preachers of the Zoroastrian belief. But 
they had not yet united together into a guild, separat- 
ing themselves from the rest of the people. This was 
only possible at a later period, and then only must the 
general appellation for the priesthood have been adopted. 
It was taken from an old and venerable term, which 
designated in the very earliest times the ministers of the 
sacred fire. 

The priests of the old natural religion, which was 
opposed to Zoroastrianism, were called Kavi and Usij,^ 

* Kavi and usij = Skr. kavi and ucij. Tradition translates 
kavi by ** blind." The word comes from ku^ " to see." Thus 
it originally designated the '• seer.'* In the Old Iranian dialect this 
meaning was entirely changed. Cognate with kavi is, 1 believe, 
vaepayd • kevuio, Ys. LI. 1 2, signifying perhaps "an inccbtuous 
((/. root vip) pseudo-priest." 




The two names, so detestable and abominable to the 
Avesta, are found in the Rig-veda as denominations of 
sacrificing priests and chanters of hymns. 

But from this we are not to conclude that it was the 
Zoroastrian Reform which caused the separation of the 
Arians into two different tribes and the migration of those 
tribes which afterwards settled in India. This event was, 
in my opinion, the result rather of social embarrassments. 

It is probable, nay, indeed certain, that, even after 
their separation, the Iranians continued for a long time to 
do homage to the old deities under their old priests. The 
length of this period cannot be ascertained. At its close 
we hear of the Reform, named after Zarathushtra, by 
which the Arian gods of light were prescribed as demons 
and their priests condemned as heterodox. 

Besides the Kavis and Usij, the Karapans^ are mentioned 
as hostile priests. This name, being indeed obscure, admits 
of no connection with old Indian conditions. 

In a highly interesting passage we find the Karapans 
standing in the midst of a social revolution : — 

** Why, Oh Mazda, are the devils so mighty? 
And, therefore, I ask Thee, who will then fight them ? 
In alliance with them the Usij and Karapans ruin 

the cattle. 
And by which the Kavis grew up to power. 
Not with justice dost Thou cause their pastures to 

thrive, fertilising them. "* 

Heretheyside apparently with a less civilized, half nomadic 
people, who do not take proper care of their herds and flocks. 
The follower of Zarathushtra opposes them vigorously. 
But fottune does not always favour him. With bitter 

' Karapan, The etymology of this word is obscture. Tradition 
makes it mean " deaf. " {Cf. the foregoing note). 

' Ys. XLIV. 20. 

■% — 


complaints does he address himself to his God^ Mazda, 
murmuring that the latter does not withdraw His. blessing 
from the unbelievers to grant it to the pious people. 

Very often the false priests and heretics allied them- 
selves with princes and thus, aided by temporal power^ 
they oppressed the new doctrine.* Not in all places was 
the Zarathushtrian Reform willingly and readily accepted 
by the nobles and grandees. 

The passage in which the Karapans appear as the priests 
of intoxicating beverage is also highly characteristic ; — 

*' When will, O Mazda, the men of wisdom step forth ? 
When will they drive away the filth of this intoxication, 

(///. intoxicating drink) 
Of which vice the Karapans are proud 
And the wicked rulers of countries V * 

There can be no doubt that this zealous appeal was 
directed against the Soma'^\i\iy to which, in consequence of 
its licentiousness, the stern minds of the reformers opposed 
themselves. But here the popular belief remained victorious. 
Perhaps some success was achieved in restraining the most 
offensive excesses connected with i'^;«^-worship. But the 
attempt to extirpate it entirely proved vain. In the later 
Avesta, Hauma maintains his place among ih^ yazatas, and 
the Mazdayasnian priests prepare that holy nectar just like 
the Indian Brahmans. 

The opposition .of the old priests was gradually broken. 
The new doctrine triumphed, while the natural religion of 
the Arians disappeared. Thus the names of the Kavis and 
Karapans gradually lost the vivid signification, which they 
bear in the Cathas. They are preserved in the later 

* Ys. XLIVI. II. Cf. above pp. 14-15. 

• Ys. XLVIII. 10. Cf, Haug, Gathas, vol. II. p. 241. Too 
bold, indeed, is the supposition that in Ys. XXXII. 3, the word 
shkvaomdm (var. shaomdm and ashyaom&m) designates Hauma 
with his Indian name Soma, [SchiecAten^^lit. '* being so bad."] 



scriptures only in the customary and stereotyped enumera- 
tion of evil beings. There they appear along with the 
Ydtus^ the Parikas^ the Daevas and the Ashemaughas,^ 
But I do not believe that any clear and definite idea was 
formed of them. 

I shall now treat of the duties and the dignity of the 
Athravans according to the statements of the later Avesta. 

The principal task of the priests was to cultivate their 
religion. They had regularly to perform divine service 
and to fulfil certain sacrificial functions. They prepared 
and consecrated the Hauma-drink and kept the sacred fire. 
Lastly, they performed, according to fixed precepts, the 
purificatory ritual on persons who had come in contact 
with unclean things.* 

Herodotus gives us a description of the sacrifices offered 
by the Persians. With his narrative may be compared 
what Strabo relates regarding the same subject.' 

"They ascend to the highest parts of the mountains and 
offer sacrifices to Zeus, by whose name they designate the 

* Vide Ys. IX. 18; Yt. I. 10. II; Yt. V. 13, X. 34. 

A signification similar to that of Karapan and Kavi may be 
attached to the quite obscure names Kaqaredha, Kaqareidht, 
Kayadha, Kayeidhi. By the way, 1 must mention that Kavi has 
occasionally a very honourable meaning. For it is found in 
a certain family of Eastern Iran, well-renowned in the legends, as 
a title constantly added before their proper names. The Avesta 
mentions, as early as in the Gathas, Kavi- Vi%hiaspa as a mighty 
protector of the Mazdian faith. There are mentioned also : — 
Kavi Usan or Usadhan^ who vanquished the demons and sub- 
jugated their countries (Yt. V. 45-47.), Kavi Karaia, Kavi 
Syavarshan^ Kavi Httsrava. InFirdusi's *• Book of Kings " they 
form the dynasty of the Kayanians, who ascended the throne of 
Iran after the Peshdudians. 

* Compare the passage Vd. XVIII. 1-6, quoted further on. 

' Her. I. 131-132; Strabo, pp. 732-733. Cf. Windischmann, 
Z. Si. pp. 294 seq, Duncker, GdA, vol. IV. pp. 131-132; 
Spiegel, E, A. vol. Ill, pp. S9o-59i. 


whole sphere of the heavens. Besides, they also offer 
sacrifices to the sun, moon, fire, water, and winds. But, 
when they are about to sacrifice, they do not erect altars 
nor kindle any fire ; nor do they use libations, nor have 
they flute-playing, sacrificial cakes, or rough-ground corn. 
If anybody wishes to offer sacrifice to any one of the 
deities, he leads the victim to a clean spot and invokes 
the deity after having decked his tiara with myrtle twigs. 
When he has cut the animal into small pieces and boiled 
the flesh, he strews a bed of tender grass, specially trefoil, 
and lays all the flesh on it. One of the Magi standing 
by sings the theogonic hymn ; for this, they say, is the 
accompanying song ; and without one of the Magi they 
are not permitted to offer any sacrifice. After some time 
he that has offered sacrifice carries away the flesh and 
disposes of it as he thinks proper/* 

This account of Herodotus evidently bears the stafnp of 
an intimate knowledge of his subject. According to his 
statement, burnt offerings were not customary ; the sacrifice 
itself is performed by the priest, who accompanies it with 
a hymn which is chanted principally to consecrate the victim 

It is obvious that whatever Herodotus relates of the 
Persians and the Magi, cannot be implicitly stated 
regarding the Eastern Iranians. However, we can easily 
make out some conformity, which is hardly casual, between 
the usages of the Persians and those of the Avesta priests, 
and especially in the most important points. 

That the Avesta priests did not burn their victims, is 
self-evident. Fire was regarded by them as sacred; it 
would be sullied by any dead body. 

On the other hand, animal sacrifices are frequently 
mentioned in the Avesta. Haushyangha, Yima, Thraitauna, 
Kersaspa, Kavi Usan, Kavi Husrava, and other legendary 
kings and heroes, nay, even the enemies of the Avesta 
people, Azhi Dahaka, Frangrasyan and the Hunus, bring as 


offerings to Anahita, to Raman, to Vayu and to other 
yazataSy a hundred stallions, a thousand head of cattle, and 
ten thousand sheep. ^ The sacrifice is always accompanied 
by a prayer to fulfil some special desire. The numbers are 
evidently exaggerated. But they are intended merely to 
depict in glowing colours the glory and abundance of the 
heroic age. 

Light-coloured animals were preferred for sacrifice. 
They were killed quite according to the Persian custom 
and their flesh boiled.* Frequently a festival repast was 
prepared.' Thus the sacrifices of the Avesta people had 
the character of a consecration rather than of an offering. 

A still closer resemblance may be traced. The sacrifi- 
cial ritual was, as Herodotus relates of the Persians, 
accompanied with the recitation of the sacred texts. 
The Avesta very frequently alludes to these solemn 
recitations, in which Gathas or holy hymns were preferred.* 
They are, therefore, joined to the Yasna, which is, on the 
whole, nothing but a collection of texts to be recited in 
divine worship. 

Finally, it is stated by Herodotus that the Magi were 
accustomed to strew the ground with tender grass when 
making sacrificial offerings. This usage dates from the 
earliest Arian era. The same was, at least originally. 

* Yt. V. 21, 25, 29 seq.] Yt. IX. 3, 8, 13 seq^ ; Yt. XV. 7, 15, 
19 seq, ; Yt. XVII. 24, 28, 37 seq, 

* Pack, ** to cook, " is the term used for sacrificing an animal. 
Yt. VIII. 58 ; XIV. so : *« The Arian countries shall cook unto 
him (unto Tishtrya or Verthraghna) sheep, bright, fine-coloured, 
or of any other colour resembling that of the Hauma plant." 

' Festival and sacrificial repast is meant by tnycuda = Skr. 
medhay Mod. Persian mayazd or myazd "convivium, epulae" 
(Vuller's Lex, sub voce), Myazd has, of course, no connection with 
mat, " wne." 

* "To recite" is drenj and sravaya, particularly fra-sravaya. 
C/l also Spiegel, Av. ub, vol. II. pp. Ixii. seq. 


practised by the Avesta priests.^ The Indian Brahmans, 
too, strewed consecrated grass near the altar while the 
sacrificial fire was blazing on it. The ground thus 
strewn was meant to serve as a seat to the deities, who 
were invited to the sacrificial repast. The invocation 
addressed to the genii to come down and sit on the 
Barkis is, therefore, a stereotyped formula in the Rig-veda. 

Gradually this custom became modified among the 
Iranian priests^ who only held in their hands a bunch of 
twigs whila offering sacrifice. We do not know when this 
change took place, but it must have been at a very early 
period. Even Strabo narrates that the Magi held a bunch 
of fine tamarisk twigs while chanting sacrificial hymns. 

Furthermore, the statement that libations were unknown 
to the Persians can hardly be said to contradict the 
authority of the Avesta. In offering up sacrifices, a sacred 
beverage, Zauthra^ was indeed prepared and consecrated. 
Besides, this consecration forms, no doubt, the central point 
of the whole solemnity ; hence the ministering priest is called 
ZautarJ^ But the Avesta does not relate that the beverage 
was distributed and poured out or offered to the yazatas. 

The sacred beverage is the Hauma or the Parahauma. 
It consisted, we know, of the juice of the Hauma plant, 
which was mixed with milk and often seasoned by adding 
the extract of another plant called Hadhianaipata? 

' Vide Yt. VIII. s8; XIV. 50. Still it is said in the Avesta: 
haresma^ fra'Siarayot "to spread the grass for the purpose of 
offering." {Cf, Skr. barhis derived from a cognate root). C/, also 
Vsp. XI. 2, siareia^ probably meaning *' the grass spread for a 
sacrificial purpose." 

• Zaothra^ zaoiare = Skr. hotraf hotr^ from rt. zu, = Skr. hu. 

^ Cf. O.K. A. pp. 230-231. I think that gau^, hudhao^ 
haurva/at and amere/ai, which are mentioned in Ys. III. i, IV. 
I, &c., as sacrificial gifts, denote the three principal ingredients 
of the sacred beverage, viz., milk, the water added to the beverage, 
and the plant itself. 


The name Hauma denoted not merely the plant and the 
beverage prepared from it, but at the same time ^yazata^ 

The three significations are so intermingled that it is 
almost impossible to distinguish them. 

Several miraculous powers were ascribed to Hauma. The 
beverage is health-giving ; it wards off death from man. As 
it animates pious enthusiasm, it is called " source of piety." ^ 

The consecration of this beverage in the sacrificial 
ceremony is accompanied by the recitation of a great many 
hymns of praise,' all of which extol the blissful effects 
of Hauma. He is invoked to give health and strength, 
protection from enemies, thieves and murderers, and victory 
in the chariot race. Married women beg of him to grant 
an easy delivery; maidens pray for husbands. He protects 
from venomous serpents and from the allurements of 
courtezans. Everything good is due to his blessing : 

*' I ask thee for enthusiasm, 
For strength and victory, 
For health and remedy, 
For thrift and growth ; 

I pray that I may walk 
Among the people, lord of my wishes, 
Conquering the enemies and vanquishing the wicked.'** 
A very comprehensive prayer to Hauma runs as follows ; — 
»' This first gift I require of thee, 
O Hauma, who keepest away death : 

* [Also Hauma seems to be the name of a renowned warrior in 
the Avesta period. Ashi Yasht, 37-39 ^ " He (Hauma) begged of 
her (Ashi) a boon, saying : Grant me this, O great Ashi Vaghvi ! 
that I may bind the Turanian murderer, Frangrasyan, that 1 may 
drag him bound, that I may bring him bound, unto King Husravah 
that King Husravah may kill him, behind the lake Chaechasta, to 
avenge the murder of his father, Syavarshana, and of Aghraeratha." 
Tr. w.] 

■ Cf, the epithets haeshazya^ duraosha and ashahe • khao. 

» Ys. IX. and X. ' * Ys. IX. 17. 




The paradise of the pious, 
The all-blissful light ; 

This second blessing I entreat of thee, 

Hauma, who keepest away death : 
Health for this my body ; 

Thatj alert, strong and contented, 

1 may walk on earth, 

Conquering the enemies, vanquishing the demons ; 

That I may walk on earth 

Victorious and gaining battles. 

Conquering the enemies, vanquishing the demons; 

That, first, the thief and the robber 
And the wolf we may perceive; 

That none of them may observe us (before we 
perceive them) !*'* 

In passing I may mention that the name Hauma 
corresponds in the Indian language to Soma. The Rig- 
veda designates by it, like the Avesta, a plant, a sacred 
beverage, and a powerful deity presiding over both. 

The Vedic Soma^yiovshx^ has already been fully treated 
by several writers. Likewise, the relations between the 
Iranian Hauma-service and the Indian Soma-worship have 
already been described in detail. The investigation has 
proved that this worship chiefly dates from the Arian 
period and has developed its peculiar features among the 
two individual peoples.^ 

^ Ys. IX. 19-21. Before each strophe the text regularly 
repeats the two first lines a and b of this strophe, but only with a 
variation in the number. 

* Windischmann : Ueber den Somaculius der Arier^ '* On the 
Soma-worship of the Arians " in the '* Transactions of the Royal 


A further duty of the priesthood, besides the offering of 
sacrifices and the consecration of the Hauma, was the 
maintenance of the holy fire. 

In the house of every Mazdayasna there burned a never- 
ceasing fire. Its maintenance was regarded as a duty of 
the pater-familias.^ It was the ' central and rallying 
point of all members of that family. 

So, too, a continual fire seems to have been tended on 
the hearth of every chief of a community and every 
country prince. It was considered the centre of that 
community and of that country. It was to these political 
associations, what the hearth-fire was to the family.* 

But there were, no doubt, in the early age of the Avesta 
different sacred fires instituted in certain places and 
tended by the priests. A description of these fires is 
given by Dr. Spiegel, chiefly on the authority of the 

Academy of Science, Bavaria," 1847, pp. 127 seq, ; Zimmer, AiL. 
pp. 272 seq, ; Ludwig, Etnl,pp, 376 seq.; Spiegel, E. A, vol. I. 
pp. 432 seq. 

* Vide vol. I. pp. 74-76. Hence fire, too, bears in the Avesta 
the epithet nmano-paiti. {Cf, Skr. grhapati^ viqpati^ the epithets 
of Agni). 

' Cf, Spiegel, E. A. vol. III. p. 575. This usage is apparently 
very old. Quite analogous customs may be observed among the 
Greeks and Romans. All Phratries belonging to the community 
had at Athens their common hearths in the Prytaneum, the town- 
hall. But there was also a x'oivr) iaria tS>v *Apxdb<ov (t\e.y a common 
hearth or family-seat of the Arcadians) as well as a itrrla ttjs 
Maxcdo^x^r i^ao'tXeiaff (hearth of the Macedonian kingdom). In 
Italy, too, every town had its own Vesta (i<rria), for instance 
Lavinium, Alba Longa {A liana Vesla), Rome. It is also known 
to have been customary for colonists to take with them fire from 
the central hearth of the metropolis and to kindle with it the 
sacred fire in their new home. 

• Spiegel, E,A. vol. II. pp. 45-47; c/.ZddmG. vol. XXXUI. 
pp. 496-501, on the Fire Gushasp or Gushnasp. 



It is certain that the Avesta priests performed their 
ceremonies before a burning fire. This fire was therefore 
addressed as present in the initiatory formulas, which 
invite the yazatas to the oflFerings : ''We invite theey O 
Fire, thou son of Ahura Mazda !" ^ 

Though the Mazdayasna had no proper temples, they 
had evidently consecrated fire-places,^ where the sacred 
element was nourished and fostered by the priests. 

The ceremonies prescribed for inferior modes of puri- 
fication could be performed by laymen for themselves. 
In more important cases, however, such as the '' purification 
of the nine nights,'' it was obligatory to call in a priest.^ 

The performance of the purificatory ceremonies seems 
to have been the chief source of revenue to ^^Athravans^ 
Any exorbitant demand was here as impossible as in the 
case of medical treatment, which was, likewise, rendered 
by the priests.* 

The Vendidad regulates the payment very accurately. 
It is greater or smaller according to rank and fortune. 
Only in the case of one priest having purified another 
was no payment received. 

" A priest," says the Avesta, * " shall be purified for his 
efficacious blessing; the chief of a country for a good male 
camel ; the chief of a district for a stallion ; the chief of 
a village for a bull ; the chief of a family for a calf." 

If it is possible, continues the text, the payment shall 
be made in cattle. Exceptionally only, some other kind 
of movable property may be given, as for instance food, 
clothes and trinkets. 

* Ys. I. 12, iava - aihrb ' Ahurahe * Masdao ' puihra ; likewise 
11. 12,111. 14, IV. 17. 

• Perhaps aihra (see my Handhuch, sub voce); next, daitya* 
ga/u, yd.Vllh 81 seg. 

* (y. vol. I. pp. 82, 83. 

♦ C/.t6td, pp. a IS, 218. 

• Vd. IX. 37 seq. 



Laymen are enjoined to observe accurately this scale of 
rates. They shall take care that the priest leaves the 
house of the purified person contented and without any 
resentment. If he goes away angry, the purified person 
becomes impure anew and remains so for ever. 

His garb itself distinguishes the priest by certain symbols 
which he must always carry. 

He wears a, patiddnay a mouth-band, with which he keeps 
his mouth covered during offerings, lest he might sully the 
sacred fire with his breath or saliva. He wears also the 
khrafstraghna and the dagger^ two instruments which 
serve for killing impure animals. Finally, it is customary 
for the priest to hold a bunch of sacred twigs.' 

But the Avesta expressly states that even these external 
marks do not make the priest. Many a man feigned to be 
an Sthravan by assuming these badges unlawfully, probably 
with a view to profit. 

Hence the warning of the Vendidad: — ** Many a man 
wears the patidana or the khrafstraghna^ or holds the 
bunch of sacred twigs, or has the serpent-sting (or 

* I refer here for comparison to the directions prescribed to 
the Brahmans in the Code of Manu : ** Fire he must always 
consider as sacred. He must not blow it out with his breath nor 
stamp on it. He must also not warm his feet at it, or place it in 
a pan under his bed or under his feet. He must not throw anything 
rotten into the fire. Offal, the remains of food, and water which 
has been used for a bath or a foot-bath, must be removed far away 
from the fire. Nor is the Brahman allowed to throw any refuse 
into water, or pour any blood or drink into it, still less to spit into 
it. He must not look at his image reflected in the water, or drink 
water in the hollow of his hand. The clothes of the Brahman must 

be always clean and white, and never worn by anybody else 

In his ears the Brahman must wear very bright gold rings. He 
must wear a wreath on his head, and carry in the one hand a staff 
of bamboo, in the other kuqa-grass and the water- pitcher for his 
ablutions," Duncker, GdA, vol. HI. pp. 132, 133 (E. Abbott's 
edition, vol. IV. p. 173). 


instrument for killing venomous creatures)^ without being 
invested according to the precepts of the religion, and 
fraudulently says he is an Athravan.'* 

'^ But do not call such a one an Athravan, who 
spends the whole night and more time besides, without 
oflFering, without saying prayers, without reciting the holy 
sayings, without performing ceremonies, without teaching 
or being taught in order to gain (immortal) existence at the 
Chinvat-Bridge, and fraudulently says he is an Athravan. 
Do not call him an Athravan. Him rather thou shalt call 
an Athravan, who meditates during the whole night and 
longer, who delivers one from anxiety and gives \J%im) 
joy at the Chinvat-Bridge, who gives {hint) religious instruc- 
tion, who makes {him) gain heaven and the piety and the 
bliss of Paradise."* 

Here the aim of the priesthood is evidently to make good 
their separation from the inferior orders. Every illegal 
encroachment upon their rights is punished with the 
greatest severity. Whoever performs the purificatory rites 
without a sufficient knowledge of the ritual shall, accord- 
ing to the Avesta, be punished with death.* 

In the period from which dates the enactment of such 
regulations, the Athravans must have formed themselves 
into an exclusive order, and ascribed to the priesthood 
a higher dignity than to other professions. Whoever did 
not belong to their guild, was not allowed to perform any 
priestly functions. Whoever nevertheless ventured to 
do so, had to undergo the severest punishment. 

The priests do not seem to have had any fixed property 
in the country. It is expressly stated that they eat 
whatever food they can manage to obtain, and that they 

* Vd. XVIII. 1-6 (leaving off a few words, particularly at the 
beginning). " To meditate " = Khraium • pares - ashavanem^ ** to 
consult the pious mind." 

■ Vd. IX. 47, 49. See above, p. 39. 


possess little wealth.* They lived on what they earned 
by medical practice and by performing purificatory 

As clearly appears, the Athravans were under a 
common head, who bore the title of Zarathushtrotema^ 
plainly derived from the name of the founder of the Mazda- 
yasnian religion. The Zarathushtrotema is mentioned 
along with the lord of the village, the president of the 
district, and the prince of the country. They all repre- 
sent the executive political power,' which possessed the 
highest spiritual and religious authority. 

The attributes of the priest are chiefly of a spiritual 
kind. Whilst the warriors implore the divine beings to 

* Vd. XIII. 4S : paiti-qaretha • qaraiti .... kasu-draona, 
' [In connection with the daily life of the Iranian priest- 
hood, it would be interesting to quote the following extract from 
(Dr. West) chapter XLVI. of the Dadismni'dinik : " Is it allow- 
able that those of the priesthood, when there is no daily livelihood 
for them from the life of the priesthood, should abandon the 
priesthood, and that^ other work be done, or not ? The reply is 
this, that there is no loss of reputation to priests from priestly duties, 
which are themselves the acquired knowledge that is accumulated 
by the priestly disposition, care for the soul, and the requisite 
good works. And there is this advantage that, through acquaint- 
ance with the religion of the sacred beings, and certainty as to 
the reward of the spirit, they make them become more contented 
in adversity, more intelligent as regards stability of character in 
difficulty and restriction, and more through knowledge of the abode 
of hope for those saved. So that it is not fit they should abandon 
the priesthood, which is both harmless and an employment with 

advantages that has required much trouble to learn 

When they cannot obtain their livelihood, they are to seek it by 
agriculture, sheep-rearing, penmanship, or other proper employ- 
ment among priests ; and when it is not possible for them to live 
even by these, they are to seek it by bearing arms, hunting, or other 
proper emplo3mient in the profession of a virtuous warrior." TV. «.] 
' Ys. I. 6 ; cf. znsya, zantuma and daqyuma in 3, 4, 5> ^^ 
Visp. I. 9, the Zaraihu^\\iroi€fna seems to be described as ahutri^ - 


grant them swift horses, victory in battle and in the 
chariot-race, the priests pray for wisdom.^ 

But priestly science, comprising the understanding of 
the Holy Texts and of ritual observances, was imparted 
by means of religious instruction. The relation between 
teachers and disciples is not unfrequently referred to in 
the Avesta. I myself have alluded to it above.* 

According to the respective functions which the priests 
discharged when offerings were made, they were divided 
into several sections. The priest who presided at the 
performance of the ceremony, was the Zautar. He had 
to recite the liturgy. The others took part in the sacred 
rites as his assistants. 

In a« later age a single priest, Ratu or Raspi performed 
the functions of the assisting priests. At first these 
various functions were allotted to each person separately. 
One priest crushed the Hauma-plant in a mortar; 
another tended the fire ; a third had to bring the vessels 
required in the offering; a fourth had the special duty 
of fetching the water; a fifth cleansed the vessels; the 
sixth and seventh had no distinctive ceremonial functions 
assigned to them; apparently, it was their business to 
perform the purification and to hear the confession.' 

• MasHm * jaidhyaonti ' spanemcha^ Yt. V. 86. 

• Cf, vol. I. p. s8. 

• Hctvanan (from Havana, "mortar," from the rooti4«=Skr. su) ; 
aiare-vakhsha (root vakhsh, " to grow, to wax, to increase") ; 
fraharetare (root bar withyra) ; a-heretare ; asnatare (root sna, " to 
wash, to bathe"); raihwishkareij) and sraosha-vareZt Vsp, III. 4 ; 
Vd. V. 57, According to the former passage the Ratu alone 
performs all these functions. 


^ 5. Warriors and Peasants^ Manufacturers and 


Whilst the Avesta is rich in information as to the duties 
and rights of the priesthood, it tells us little concerning the 
other orders, which nevertheless formed, there cannot be 
the least doubt, by far the greater part of the people. 

Besides the Athravans, the Zoroastrian documents 
particularly mention the Rathaishtar^ the warriors, and the 
Vdstrya-fskuyat, the peasantry.* 

Neither the priesthood nor the profession of arms is 
mentioned in the Gathas. The peasants, on the other 
hand, are frequently named under their official desig- 
nation, for in that early period they made up the whole 
people. The priests formed as yet no separate order. 
There were, I am inclined to believe, only a few individuals 
who went from village to village as missionaries and 
preachers to propagate the new doctrine. But as yet there 
were no people who adopted the military profession without 
troubling themselves about agriculture. Every peasant was 
at the same time a fighting man, who was ready to defend 
his property against enemies in time of danger. 

The warrior class may be regarded as a kind of rural 
gentry composed of the most opulent landlords, who could 
entrust to their servants the management of their estates and 
had, therefore, sufficient leisure to exercise themselves in 
the use of arms. 

There is no doubt that every one who was capable of 
bearing arms, was bound to render military service. Never- 
theless, not every Iranian who took the field was, therefore, 

* The regular order is : athravan^ rathaeshtare^ vasirya-fshuyaU 
Vd. V. 28, XIII. 44; Ys. XL 6, XIII.' 3; Vsp. Ill, 2; Yt. 
XIX. 7, and often. 


ranked amongst the knights or champions. The latter 
evidently fought in battle on chariots, from which the whole 
order took its name.^ Consequently, when a war broke out^ 
it was the duty of the cavalier to provide himself with 
a chariot, while in time of peace it was necessary that h^ 
should exercise himself in fighting from the chariot. 

The body of champions was, certainly, of special import- 
ance to the prince or sovereign. In them he had a number of 
warriors prepared to support him. In case of war, as soon 
a$ the enemy attacked the country, they were ready to 
follow him into the field. They were, I believe, likewise 
able to command great masses of the people, who could only 
in times of extreme danger exchange the plough for the 
sword and lance, while they were also useful in stimulating 
the courage of the army by their own example. 

So it is probable that the sovereign mostly endeavoured 
to gain the knights or champions over to his party. They 
formed his retinue, even his constant attendants. In the 
neighbourhood of his mansion chivalrous feats and warlike 
exercises were diligently practised. 

Thus arose gradually a military nobility who, besides 
their larger estates, acquired a privileged social position. 
Several personages are called ''champions" in the Avesta. 
Such a one is Tusa, the conqueror of the equestrian tribe 
of the Hunus. Seated on horseback, he prays to the 
Anahita for strength to his team and for victory over his 

^ Ratha^Aiiare or raiha^hiao comes from the locative rathae and 
root sta ; hence *' standing on the chariot." In Sanskrit it corres* 
ponds to ratheshtha and ra/heshf/ia^ which, however, do not 
signify any profession. [ Vid^ Professor Max Duncker's History 
of Antiquity, Abbott's edition, vol. V. p. 186 : " That a warlike 
nobility of a highly important and pre-eminent character, attitude, 
and position, existed in Eastern Iran is the less to be doubted, 
as the order of warriors in the Avesta is denoted by a nam« 
(jrathaesYitar) which goes back to the chariots of war." TV. ».J 
VOL. U. J 


■ '■■'■■' „ ■.-■- . 1 1 ..I ■ I , , , , , ■ . ■■ ■ ■ I ■ 

enemies. With a similar prayer do the championf 
generally address themselves to Mithrar' 

Mithra himself is often styled a champion or chariot* 
warrior. He drives his horses along the heavens and takes 
part in battles* Srausba is similarly represented* Fire, 
too, as being the powerful element fighting in tempests, is 
called a warrior** 

It is self-evident that the number of the cbanrpions was 
limited. Probably there were few large estates in Eastern 
Iran. The fertile soil^ broken up as it was in most 
districts, did not at all allow of the formation of large estates* 
On the contrary, the land was, as it were by nature, divided 
into a great number of small farms* 

Small farmers were certainly more miinerous, and 
comprised the greatest portion of the i>eopler And it is 
for this reason alone that we learn nothing particular as 
regards this class as such, its political organization,, duties, 
and rights, wliereas its occupation, viz.^ the breeding ol cattle 
and the tilling of the soil has already been discussed* Only 
occasionally does the Avesta speak of industry and labour, 
as well as early rising, as characteristics of the farmer.^ 

We must enter mpore into detail in discussing the question 
whether there existed an order of nvanufacturers, and what 
their social position was in the Avesta State. 

The division of the people into priests, warriors, and 
farmers is frequently met with in the Avesta. This 

' Yt. V, S3, X. 1 1. ; ^* vol L pp* 176, 177. Titles of honour 
conferred on the ratha^^\Uao are : takhma (Yt. V. 86) and aurvcX 
(Ys. IX. 22 ; Yt. V. S5). As attributes of the warrior the following 
are mentioned in Vd. XIII. 45 : (i) rapib' paurvaeihyo; (2) a/^r- 
ja/O' gdm * hudhaoghem ; (3) paro • pascha • nmanah*. 

• Yt. X. 25, 102, 1 12 ; Yt. XL 19 ; Ys. LVII. 34 ; Nyftj. V. 6 ; 
Sir. 1.9; Ys. LXII. 8. 

* Vd. XIII, 46 : Zaenagha • evisio qa/na • yaiha • vastrya^ 
fshuySs^ paro • pascha • nmanahe > yatha • vastryO'/shuydi^^ pascha * 
parb • nmanahe ' yaiha • vastryo-^shuyds* 


threefold classification is so firmly established that we cannot 
possibly suppose the existence of a fourth order possessing 
equal rights. 

Only from a single passage of the Yasna might we be 
tempted to draw another conclusion. But I believe that 
this passage only apparently contradicts the other 
statements of the Avesta. Along with the names of the 
priests, warriors, and farmers it also mentions a fourth class, 
that of the Huti, which term cannot but mean " manu- 
facturer." * 

Yet the passage does not contain a single syllable 
concerning the political or social position of the four estates 
with regard to each other. It treats merely of the nature 
of different callings and occupations ; consequently, we 
are not entitled to conclude that the Huti were classed 
together with the other orders. The passage does not at 
all touch upon this question. However^ the contrary 
is proved by the continual and official threefold division 
of the Avesta mentioned in other passages. 

So we are only at liberty to infer from this passage of the 
Yasna that manufactures were not confined to domestic 
industry, but were carried on by a particular class of the 
population. This hypothesis has already been stated in 
another part of this work^ and it is suggested to us by 

* Ys. XIX. 17. Kaish • //sh/ra/sh? Aihrava^ raihaeshihao. 
va8iry0-/shuy&Sy hui/rsh, " what are the pis\i/ras ? The priest, 
the warrior, the farmer, the manufacturer." We must lay some 
•tress upon the word ^/'sh/ra. It cannot, I believe, mean " order '• 
in its judicial or political sense, but perhaps " skilfulness, calling " 
(from root pis = Skr. //c, " to make skilful "). Tradition explains 
the word h^ti by hutkkk^ (cf. Mod. Pers. iakhsha\ Sanskrit 
prakrtikarman. In later times this fourfold classification is 
naturally employed in all passages. When manufactures began to 
thrive, the order of manufacturers gained respect and dignity. 
C/. Mkh* chap. XXXII. 2; LIX. i-io. Yet it is characteristic that 
in the Minokhired too, '' misbeliei," dush-garoishni, is called aho^ 
Che special sin of ^thuHJihshd (Dr. West, Mkh. Glossary x. v.) 


the variety and the comparatively high perfection of 
the arts, which, according to the Avesta, existed in 
ancient Iran.^ 

Furthermore, we may conclude that the manufacturers 
were not a subdivision of the third order. Such a 
supposition ought to be founded on substantial grounds. 
The title given to the peasantry exclusively regards the 
two functions of the farmer, viz., agriculture and cattle- 
breeding. No other function is at all presupposed. 

So there remains only a single possible theory, namely, 
that besides the fully authorized members of the Avesta 
commonwealth, divided into priests, warriors, and farmers, 
there existed also an inferior section of the population, 
consisting of handicraftsmen.' 

It cannot be stated whether this section was servile or 
semi-servile, or whether its members were personally 
independent but without any political status* 

It is not improbable that it was composed of the 
remnants of the aboriginal population of Iran, which had 
submitted to the immigrating Arians. The conquered 
race remained in a kind of dependence. Yet it is certain 
that the ancient hostility gradually died out, and that they 
were, as early as in the Avesta epoch, thoroughly peaceful. 
Perhaps the subjugated people were admitted, at least 
partially, into the community of the Mazdayasna, but 
without being allowed any political rights. 

As was customary in those times, all the landed property 
was claimed by the immigrating conquerors. However, 
the less honourable occupations of handicraft were left to 
the vanquished race. 

But if it be true that the primitive population of Iran 
belonged to the so-called Turanian race, which inhabited 

* Vide vol. I. p. 212. 

■ Amongst the Indians the order of Vai9yas, too, comprised 
husbandmen, merchants, and artisans. 


Mesopotamia before the immigration of the Semites, 
we may understand why objects made of metal are 
especially described as various and ingenious by the Avesta. 
In the original home of the Turanians, among the 
slopes of the Altai mountains, where metals are found 
rn abundance, and near the surface of the soil, that people 
had acquired in the most ancient times the arts of the 
miner, founder, and goldsmith, and had subsequently 
spread further and further in their wanderings to- the 
South-West. » 

We can also imagine that the conquered aborigines 
were deprived of their personal liberty. In that case th^y 
formed or made up at least the main portion of the servile 
population. In that period, as in ancient Rome, manufac- 
tures may have been carried on by slaves. 

There is hardly any doubt that in the Avesta State there 
existed a servile class, since it is known that every free- 
man might pawn away his freedom.* 

But the principal increase in the number of slaves was, 
I suppose, effected by the numerous wars waged by the 
Avesta people. Captives taken in war were kept by 
their conquerors as servants and slaves. As such they 
formed, I believe, part of the household of the Mazdayasna, 
where they seem to have been treated kindly and 

The wives and daughters of the conquered enemies 
were likewise a desirable prize. As menials in the houses 
of their conquerors, they very often knew how to gain the 
love of their masters through their beauty and wanton 
ways. They were, I believe, the Jahika^ against whom 
the Avesta so emphatically warns the faithful.' 

• Rawlinson, *'The Five Great Monarchies/* vol. I. pp. 
98-99 ; Maspero, GdmV, p. 137. 

• See above, pp. 37-38 

• C/. Vd. XIII. 46, 48; Yt. XVII. 57-58. 



Identical customs existed among the Vedic Indians. By 
Ddsa, the name applied to the aboriginal population of 
the Pan jab, are also meant slaves. This proves that the 
two notions really coincide, and that the Dasas, falling 
into the hands of the Arians, were kept and employed as 
slaves.^ So, too, if the Rig-veda expressly recognizes in the 
Dasa-women dangerous enemies of the Arians, this fact 
must be founded, I imagine, on grounds similar to those 
which called for the admonition of the Avesta against 
wanton women.* 

The term by which the Avesta actually designates, though 
only in two passages, the servile class, is Vat'su.^ 

The Vaisu, as it seems, ranked in the family between 
women and little children. For the purification of one of 
them the fee to the priest was an animal (a beast of burden) 
fit for carrying burdens. Thus slaves were evidently 
regarded as members of the family and their possession 
very highly valued. They might likewise be admitted into 
the religious community, and were subject to the ritual 
laws of the Avesta. But the Vaisu bore at the same time 
an appellation, which doubtless indicates in my opinion his 
menial character.^ 

In another passage the Vaisu is called " arousing'* or 
" making music." So the servants had apparently the duty 
of diverting and amusing their masters by their arts. The 
very same epithets are also applied to the *' wanton women," 

• Zimmer, AiL. pp. 107 seg. See also Grassmann, W/6. s.v. 
dasa, 3rd meaning. 

■ Rv. 2. 20. 7 ; 3. 20. 10, 

• Vaesu from vis, " to go to meet, to serve." Its connection 
with Sanskrit vaicya is not certain. 

• Yd. IX. 38. Pairi'Oeiaru comes from root 1' with /«/>/, " to 
go about, to serve," Also Sanskrit paryetr^ ** one who has got 
something in his power," may be referred to for comparison. So 
we might, perhaps, translate pairi^aetaru in its passive sense, 
" being in the power of, belonging to." 


and this very fact induces me to believe that the latter 
were al^o slaves in the house of the Mazdayasna.^ 

In order to give the reader a better notion of the social 
position of the Vaisu, I may perhaps refer to that of the 
pudra in the Brahmanic commonwealth. They were com- 
pelled to render personal service to BrShmans, Kshatriya 
and Vai^ya. So they were, like the Vaisu, a menial class. 
Nevertheless they — we suppose the Vaisu also — were 
allowed to work and earn their livelihood as artisans. 

Here they may be compared to the Luris dwelling in 
Baloochistan Proper. They are^ according to the description 
of M. Bellew,' a kind of gipsies. In small parties formed of 
a couple of families they are met with throughout the whole 
country. They do not belong to the race of the Brahuis 
or the Baloochees. They have no landed property, nor do 
they cultivate the fields of others. They are partly vagrant 
musicians wandering from one village to another, and 
partly engaged in humble industries, such as pottery, 
rope-making and mat-making. 

It would be an anachronism to regard the Vaisus and 
the Luris as perfectly identical. The latter, according to 
an account of the Shdh-ndme, were induced by Behrimgur 
or Varahran V. (Vullers, pp. 417-438) to emigrate from 
India to Iran. Nor can they be called slaves, since they 
personally remained totally free and independent. 

* Vd. XIII. 46 : gandrakara, ** making music " or •* merry- 
making " = Phlv. khunak'kar = Mod. Pers. khunya-gar. 
Other common appellations of the Vaisu and Jahika are : asnae- 
raesha {*' causing damage by any close contact (?) "), Main'myq/sman 
and thryafsman^ the meanings of which are very obscure. 

• " From the Indus to the Tigris," p. 52. Cf. Spiegel, E. A. 
vol. III. p. S50 note. 


§ 6. The Mutual Relations of the several Orders. 

Tradition traces the institution of separate orders to 
Zarathushtra.^ He is not merely the founder of the Parsi 
Religion; succeeding generations revere him at the same 

* [Comp, Spiegel, Eranische Alter thumskunde^ vol. III. pp. 5S4 
seq, — " Just as in India the Purushasdkta endeavours to explain 
the descent of castes, so do we find also in Iran legendiary state- 
ments concerning the origin of the diflferent orders, which they 
ascribe to the most early period. According to the Book o/KingB, 
Yima organized the different orders ; and this assumption is also 
quite reasonable, for as Yima was, according to the Iranian 
legend, the founder of the political organization, he ought naturally 
to have been also the author of the social classification. On the 
other hand, according to the view of the priests, Zarathushtra 
was the first founder of the three estates, which were after him 
continued by his sons. It is extremely difficult to reconcile these 
two accounts with one another, for, according to the legend, 
Zarathushtra appears only in times far distant from the age of 
Yima, t.^., under Vishtaspa, and we cannot believe that the Iranian 
state could have existed thousands of years without a division into 
classes having taken place. The difficulty may be explained if 
we may assume that Zarathushtra lived in the age of Yima, and 
that with his help Yima organized the state ; and some passages 
may be adduced as an indirect proof of this statement. The 
Book 0/ Kings speaks not merely of the fire altar but also of the 
Avesta as in existence long before Zarathushtra. It must, like- 
wise, strike us when it is said in Yd. II. 143 that Urvatatnara, the 
son of Zarathushtra, was King in the Vara of Yima, for it is 
strange indeed that this Vara of Yima should have remained 
without a chief until the time of King Vishiaspa. However, the 
assumption that Zarathushtra lived in the reign of Yima is very- 
inconvenient, since in that case we must not only destroy the 
entire sacred chronology, but also separate Zarathushtra from 
Vishtaspa, with whom he is nevertheless coupled in the Avesta. 
A second and less violent expedient is to ascribe a distinct origin 
to the priestly legend eliminated by us in vol. I. p. 659, so that 


time, as the author of the most important political 
institutions. The Avesta, therefore, calls him the first 
Priest^ the first King, and the first Agriculturist.^ 

According to the Bundehesh, Zarathushtra had three 
sons, who are, likewise, mentioned in the Avesta ; they are 
called IsatvastrUf Hvarchithra^ Urvatatnara* The first 
was the head of the priests. To him are ascribed the 
foundation and organization of the priesthood. The 
second was the commander-in-chief in war. The third 
was the chief of the agricultural population.^ 

Firdusi also hands down a legend concerning the origin 
of the orders, which is traced back to the days of Yima. 
I do not think it necessary to endeavour to reconcile 
this legend with the narrative of the Avesta and of the 
Bundehesh ; ' for we have here to deal merely with a legend, 
which can^ and will, at all times spread, develop, and change 
with great freedom. And it is perfectly clear why a poet 
like Firdusi should give the legend a character different 
from what we find in the theological books, such as the 
Avesta and the Bundehesh. 

It is the purpose of the legend, to give to some important 
institution the character of high antiquity, no matter whether 

Yima on the one side, and Vishtaspa and Zarathushtra on the 
other, ran parallel and were blended together, in a later period 
only, in the manner now current. 

The result at which we finally arrive [after minute research) 
is this, that the rise of the civilization of the Iranians is related in 
two different narratives; while the one traces it to Yima, accord- 
ing to the other Zarathushtra is said to be its pioneer. If doubts 
exist as to the author of that civilization, there is even greater 
difficulty in determining the region in which, from the Iranian 
point of view, it had its origin." TV. «.] 

* Yt. XIII. 88-89 • paoiryai' atkaurune^ paoiryai - rathaeshthai^ 
Paoiryai • vastryai > fshuyante. 

* Bdh. chap. XXXIIL 5 ; West, " Pahlavi Texts, " part 
I. p. I42. 

* Spiegel, E. A. vol. III. pp. 549*550. 

VOL. 11. K 



it naines Zarathushtra or his sons^ or even the ancient 
Yima as its founder. 

The passage in Fird&si runs as follows :' — 

'* Of all who pursued the same trade,* Jemshid convoked 
an assembly, to which he devoted fifty years." 

*' First the tribe' called Katuziyan (or Amoztydn).^ 
Know that these are devoted to the observance of public 

" He separated them from the rest of the people and 
gave them the mountains as their dwelling-place. 

^* in order to live there in adoration and meditation before 
1/he Bright Lord of the Universe. 

*^ In the second place he set those who are named 

'^ They are those who fight with the courage of the lion ; 
who shine before the army and the co^antries. 

^* Who shelter the throne of the King and maintain the 
glory of virtue. 

*' The third, know ye, bears the name Ndsudl. To nobody 
have they to pay homage,* 

''Blameless they work and sow and reap and nourish 

" They need not obey anybody, though their garments 
are poor (ue.y they are meanly clad) ; and their ears are 
free from the sound of calumny. 

* Shah-namey ed. Vullers, vol. I. p. 24, 11. 17 seq, Cf. 
Mohl, Le Livre des Rois (" The Book of Kings "), vol. I. pp. 34 seq. 

* The original text has peshah^ corresponding to the Avesta 
ph\itra (vide p, 62), 

* Firdusi uses the word guroh " ca^erva, horde, crowd '* ; so too 
further below. 

* Mohrs edition has amoztydn. The word comes from ambkhlan^ 
•* to teach." 

' Mohl: *»They pay no homage to any person." Vullers 
{Lexicon, s,v, sipds) : — " quibus nemo gra/ias agt//* ** whom nobody 



" They are free, and the cultivation of the earth is their 
charge; they know neither enemies nor lawsuits. 

" For a wise and noble-m inded man says : Laeiness 
makes the free man a slave. 

*' The fourth order comprises those who are called the 
Ahnukhushi ; ^ they are active for gain, and full of 

'^ Their business is to manufacture ; their soul is con- 
tinually full of fear." 

The tradition of the Shah-name entirely agrees with the 
views of the Avesta. It distinguishes four orders, just as 
the passage of the Yasna often referred to above. The 
independence of the farmers and the enjoyment in their 
profession of rights equal to those of the priests and 
warriors, are specially emphasized. However, the inferio- 
rity of the fourth order no less plainly appears. There is 
no doubt but handicrafts are regarded as less honourable ; 
those who follow them are considered as not free and 
morally inferior. 

Let us now set aside the fourth order and consider the 
mutual relations which subsisted between the priests, 
warriors, and farmers. The first question, no doubt, is : — 
Whether we have here before us castes or orders ? 

Two things are characteristic of and essential to the 
existence of caste.* Wherever these are wanting, we 
cannot speak of castes, but only of orders* 

Firstly, the caste must be hereditary, from father to son, 
in strict conformity to law. The order is fixed and 
determined by birth. It is possible that one may sink into a 

* This name is full of interest. Evidently it is identical with 
the Pahlavi ahunvdkhsh%,.,.S^\\^ Persian word ahnukhushi (ahuna- 
vakhshi) is, I believe, corrupted from the Pahlavi hutokhshi (from 
huy **good," and thwakhsh^ **to endeavour") industry, artizan- 
ship, the profession of artizans. To my knowledge the word 
ahunvakhshi rarely occurs in Pahlavi. TV. ».] 

• Cf. Spiegel, E. A. vol. III. p. 551, 


lower caste^ while it is impossible for him to rise to a 
higher grade. 

Secondly, a lawful intermarriage between members of 
different castes cannot take place. Whenever such a 
marriage is contracted, it is either regarded only as 
concubinage, or the children are assigned to the lower 
caste ; nay, perhaps, to the very lowest in the scale. 

I know no passage of the Avesta or of the late traditional 
writings, which bears testimony to the existence of both 
these characteristics in the orders of the Avesta. However, 
this silence is not in itself conclusive. 

But various reasons, chiefly intrinsic ones, disprove the 
existence of real castes in ancient Iran. I refer to the 
words of Dr. Spiegel, who has already demonstrated this 
fact in a convincing manner: ' 

" We regard the caste as a luxury, which can only be 
allowed in opulent countries. Castes are definitely proved 
to exist only in countries such as India and Egypt, where 
their existence may be easily conceived.* These two 

* Spiegel, E, A. vol. Ill, pp. 546 seg. 

• The subject treated of here is closely connected with the 
question whether the Arians of the Rig-veda had any castes 
among them. Whilst Ludwig {Emleiiung^ pp. 216 seq.)^ agreeing 
with Haug and Kem, affirms it, it is denied by Zimmer {AiL, 
pp. i86 seq)y Aufrecht, Benfey, Muir, M. Muller, Roth, and 
Weber. I am also of opinion that the existence of castes is 
inconceivable in the times and circumstances of the Rig-veda* 
Without any regard to other reasons I should rely principally on 
an argument which, as far as I know, has not yet been advanced. 
There cannot be any doubt that castes can only be found in a 
complete and settled commonwealth, in which alone the necessary 
control could be exercised, and suitable and effective measures 
taken against any violation of the laws of caste. Even in our 
days the caste-system in India gives rise to most of the lawsuits. 
However, the views of the people are to a great extent humanized 
by English influence. What a complicated judicial system must 
have existed in the Vedic antiquity! A commonwealth so 


countries are extremely fertile and rich in natural 
productions. The farmer in particular can derive from the 
cultivation of a relatively small piece of ground whatever 
he requires for the maintenance of himself and his family ; 
hence he can afford to distribute the surplus among those 
who serve him in various ways. The above-mentioned 
countries have also a very genial climate, which enables 
their inhabitants' to be contented with little; for their 
living and clothing cost but little in comparison with what 
is necessary in less favoured climates. Wherever such 
facilities for earning a livelihood exists castes^ in my 
opinion, must naturally be formed.^' 

But all these circumstances, which favour or facilitate 
the rise and development of castes, are not at all to be met 
with in Iran. Here the soil is on the whole supposed to be 
extremely poor. In many parts it can be used only for 
pasture; and, wherever agriculture is possible, it requires 
most careful cultivation, much labour and diligence. 

The climate is anything but genial. It is a continental 
climate in the full sense of the word, varying between the 
extremes of heat and cold. Any restriction to a particular 
kind of vocation is out of the question. Otherwise, the 
people would soon feel the effects of famine. In Iran 
every one must work according to his strength and ability 
and without any long relaxation in order to make a living. 

The ithravans, perhaps, form a solitary exception. Yet, 
even regarding them, it is uncertain whether they had no 

organized no doubt existed in the Brahmana in the valley of the 
Ganges. Yet the Arians of the Indus and of the Panjab did not 
possess it, since they had no settled home, but were in course of 
migration from West to East. Under such varying circumstances 
there could not rise and take deep root an institution which, more 
than any other, bears the stamp of stability, solidity, and ossifica- 
tion, and which, no doubt, presupposes a development of centuries 
before it can be regarded as permanent. 


other sources of income than the exercise of their priestly 

If the orders of priests^ warriors, and farmers had been 
castes, there would certainly have been invented some myth 
representing this division as eternal and ordained by God. 
Brahmanical legends of such a kind are not wanting. But 
it is actually a priestly tradition which describes the three 
orders as being of one nature and one kind. Indeed, the 
Avesta derives all the three orders from Zarathushtra^ 
whereby they are bound together rather than sundered. 

The mutual blending of the orders can even be proved, 
I believe, from the Avesta itself. 

It is expressly said that Hauma refuses to women who 
do not render him due honour, the birth of an Athravan, 
and, generally, a happy delivery.* Here we must suppose 
that the son of every woman, at least in theory, could 
become a priest. It was certainly the eager desire of all 
women in ancient Iran to be blessed with sons who might 
participate in this high honour. 

The same idea is implied in a curse which is pronounced 
against the despisers of Hauma. '' In such a house {where 
Hauma is despised) no£thravan shall bebonij nor warrior, 
nor farmer.'* * 

It is thus proved that not even the £thravans formed a 
caste properly so called. Yet there cannot be any doubt 
that in course of time they constituted themselves a class 
distinct from the other orders. It must have gradually 

* Ys. X. 15 : noii • i&m • aihravo • puthrlm • naedha • dasii • 

• Ys. XI. 6. The passage might also be construed as follows : 
" In the house of a priest (where Hauma is despised) shall be 
born no priest {i.e,, no son at all), in the house of a warrior no 
warrior, in that of a farmer no farmer." Yet this translation 
seems rather strained. A much stronger expression is used in the 
passage addressed to every man of the tribe : ** The despiser of 
Hauma shall have no free son at all." 



become a recognized rule that only the sons of priests should 
be ordained as priests. At least such had naturally a 
preferential claim to this privileged rank. 

We know how jealously the Athravans watched that no 
one^ who was not entitled, should enter their circle and 
assume their rights. So they formed at all events a well- 
organized order, and admission into it was subject to certain 

Among the Modern Parsis the sacerdotal dignity is 
inherited from father to son. A layman cannot acquire it. 
A priest^ on the contrary, is fre^ to embrace another 
calling.^ Thus usage has become established in course 
of time and has acquired the force of law. 

The priesthood held generally an isolated position 
among the Avesta people and in the commonwealth. 

I really believe that the Athravans were not properly 
natives of Eastern Iran.^ They had their principal seat 
in Media whence they emigrated to the East. It was by 

* Dosabhoy Framji : " The Parsis," p. 227 ; (" History of 
the Parsis," 2nd ed. vol. II. p. 235) : " The priest does not 
acquire his position from sacerdotal fitness or superior learning. 
Strictly speaking he cannot be called a spiritual guide. The son 
of a priest is also a priest, unless he chooses to follow another pro- 
fession, which is not prohibited to him. But a layman cannot be 
a priest. They resemble the Levites"; and p. 237: "The 
present ' dasturs,' or chief priests, among the Parsis in Bombay, 
namely, Dastur Peshotanji, the successor of the learned and 
renowned Edaldaru (Sanjana), and Dastur Jamaspji, successor of 
the well-known Edaldaru Jamaspasana, are intelligent and well- 
infoimed men, possessing a considerable knowledge of their 
religion ; but some of the priesthood are profoundly ignorant of 
its first principles. As the minds of the Parsi people have now 
been awakened, and as active measures have been and are being 
devised for improvement, the darkness and gloom of the past will 
doubtless be succeeded by a bright dawn in the future." Cf. 
Spiegel, E, A. vol. III. p. 567, note 3. 

' Cf. Spiegel, E. A. vol. III. pp. 554 sfq,^ pp. 561-567. 


such emigrant priests that the doctrine of Zarathushtra was 
announced to the people of Balkh^ Merv, and Herat^ of 
Soghd and Khvarizm^ of Sei'stan and Kabul. 

This opinion is strongly confirmed by what is stated in 
the Parsi legend regarding Zoroaster. It represents the 
Prophet as coming from Rai or Ragha to Balkh^ to the 
court of King Vishtaspa, and preaching there the new faith. 

I will not deny that this legend is extremely imperfect. 
However, it is utterly impossible to believe that this 
tradition should have no foundation in fact. We do not 
gain anything whatever by rejecting tradition as mere 
nonsense and absurdity. Such an assertion must not be 
maintained without convincing reasons. It is our task to 
extract the kernel of truth contained in traditions but hidden 
under a mass of legend and poetry ! If we act otherwise, 
we, indeed, destroy the old edifice of tradition, only to raise 
in its place another which stands on no foundation whatever. 

If we eliminate from the Zoroastrian legend the royal 
court of Vishtaspa and the kingly palaces ; if we lay aside 
the learned disputations and the intrigues of the court ; 
nay more, the very name of Zarathushtra, as being 
the only historical personage, I should have no objection 

to offer However, this fact must, I believe, 

remain — as being the nucleus and basis of the entire 
legend — that the Avesta religion was introduced among 
the Eastern Iranians from the West, and that it was 
brought to them by the order of priests immigrating 
from the West. 

It even seems that only a small portion of that priesthood 
had settled in Eastern Iran. The majority wandered about 
homeless like the Jewish Levites and the Mohammedan 
Mollahs. They taught and preached and earned their living 
by occasionally performing their medical or sacerdotal 
functions in cases of disease or impurity. 

The ** coming of the ithravans" is celebrated in the 
Avesta. They come from afar bringing piety into the 


countries J Before they immigrated from their distant 
home into Eastern Iran piety had not dwelt there, but 
a creed different from that which is taught by the Avesta. 
The people still followed the old Arian religion of nature. 

The same fact is implied in the tradition which puts into 
the mouth of Kersani the words: — *'No more shall an 
Athravan come into my country to make proselytes I " * 
Kersani is apparently a legendary prince, who counteracts 
the missionary work of the Athravans. It is further on 
related that Hauma vanquished him and deprived him of 
his power. This evidently means that the priests succeeded 
through divine aid in breaking the resistance of that prince 
and in gaining over his people to their new doctrine. 

That the priests in the very epoch of the Avesta were 
still in an unsettled condition and wandered through the 
country, may perhaps be inferred from their appellation, 
'* wandering through the countries/' by which, it seems, the 
Athravans are designated in the texts.' 

In Ragha, that is in Media, the Athravans had their home. 
Here resided the Zarathushtrotema^ and hence the priests 
had evidently emigrated to the East, In Ragha they had 
not only spiritual but even secular power. 

This is confirmed by the Avesta, according to which 
there were generally five chiefs. The first is the master 
of the house, the second the headman of the village, the 
third the head of the tribe, and the fourth the prince of the 
country. The fifth is the Zarathustra or the Zarathush- 
trdtema, the chief of the Athravans, who was, at least 
according to the notions of the priests, above all secular 

* Ys. XLII. 6; athaurundm ' paiti-ajdihrem ' yazamaide ' ydi 
tea (/aya) • durai • ashd-isho • daqyundm. 

* Ys. IX. 24 . nott ' me - apdtm • athrava • fl/w/shZ/sh • vercdhye • 
danhava • charai. 

* Danhaurvaesa, Vsp. III. 3;Grih. IV. 8; Yt. XXIV. 17. 

VOL. H. L 


Ragha affords the only exception. Here there are but 
four chiefs ; the fourth is the Zarathushtra. Thus in Media 
he unites the spiritual and secular power in his own person. 
He is not only the chief of the clergy, but at the same time 
also a country-prince in Ragha. ^ 

Hence we may infer that the Sthravans came from 
Media, where they had their permanent abode. Their 
chief resided in the ancient metropolis of the country. 

Under such circumstances it must be admitted that the 
supposition that the Xthravans were identical with the 
Magi, in so far as they had spread over Eastern Iran, is 
very natural. It is not strange, that they received in the 
new country a different title from that which they had in 
their native land and in Persia. At all events, what we 
know about the Magi perfectly agrees with what is related 
of the Athravans. It is uncertain whether the designation 
Magu (used elsewhere) occurs in the A vesta ; yet it is not 
altogether improbable.^ 

* The passage (Ys. XIX. 18) is treated at full length by Spiegel, 
E, A, vol. III. p. 563. I cannot but agree entirely with his 
opinion. The original text runs ; — Kay a • ratava/* JVmdnyd, vlsya, 
zan/umo, zara/hush/rd • pukhdho ; aoghdm • daqyundm • yao • 
anyao • rajdii • zarath u^htroii. Chathru-ratu^ • Ragha • zarath «sh- 
/rish; kaya*anhao raiavo? Nmanyascha- visyascha^zahiumascha, 
zara/hush/ro • tuiryo, " Who are the chiefs ? The master of the 
house, the lord of the village, the president of the tribe, the prince 
of the country, the fifth is the Zarathushtra. (So it is) in the 
countries outside the Zarathushtrian Empire ( .?). The Zarathush- 
trian Ragha has four chiefs. Who are these chiefs ? The master 
of the house, the lord of the village, the president of the tribe, 
the fourth is the Zarathushtra." I observe that the tradition renders 
the word zarathu^tra simply by zartushiium. The change of 
the word rajoit into raghoit, is not obvious. The form of it 
would be objectionable even now. 

■ In Ys. LXV. 6, the term mogu-tbish. is found along with other 
designations of the adversaries of the Zoroastrian religion. It is 
often, and I believe not without some reason, translated ** hating 
the Magi." Certainly everybody will admit that nothing is 


There is no doubt that the Magi were a Median tribe.' 
Yet we know that they had spread also over Persia. Here 
they formed the priesthood, which, as regards customs and 
usages, greatly differed from the rest of the people. 
Hence Herodotus expressly distinguishes them from the 

We can only correctly understand the rebellion of the 
pseudo-Bardija, whom Darius calls one of the Magi, if we 
look upon it as a reaction of the Median tribe against the 
ascendency of the Persians.' 

Ammianus Marcellinus, too, speaks of Media in a manner 
worthy of credence, as the native country of the Magi. 
Here lay their fertile lands and fields, whence they 
departed to consecrate themselves for centuries exclusively 
to the worship of the divinities. It is particularly related 
that they maintained the eternal fires, which were originally 
kindled from a holy flame that had once fallen from 

Finally, I must refer to a passage in Yaqut alluded to by 
Dr. Spiegel, according to which the last chief of the 
Magi died in the fortress of Ushtunavend near Rai. His 
residence was, therefore, near that primeval Ragha, 
wherein also the Avesta places the seat of the chief of the 

We can now understand the nature and origin of the 
civilization of the Avesta people. It does not occur 
to me to locate their scene of activity in Western Iran, 
especially in Media. Some portion of the people, it is true, 
dwelt, according to the Avesta, on Median soil, but the 
majority, no doubt, had their home in Eastern Iran. 

essentially proved or refuted by the droll remark : " the little word 
maghu or tnoghu has quite innocently incurred the suspicion of 
magic." {ZddmG. vol. XXXIV. p. 715, note). 

^ Herod. I.ioi. " Herod. I. 104* 

" Spiegel, E» A. vol II. pp. 304 seq. 


However, Media was apparently not only the starting- 
point for the propagation of a new belief, but also for the 
spread of a new culture. The ithravans during their 
missionary labours not only introduced their religion into 
the East, but also their civilization. And thus we can 
conceive why in the Avesta a social amelioration is 
combined with the religious reform. 

The civilization of Media may have been in many 
respects superior to that of the East. There the nature 
of the soil is by far more favourable to agriculture and 
permanent settlements, and not such as to necessitate a 
nomadic life. 

We need not suppose that the Athravans were entirely 
strangers to the inhabitants of Eastern Iran as regards 
their- customs and language. I believe they belonged to 
those Iranian tribes, which had advanced furthest to the 
West; but, having been separated locally from their tribal 
brethren, ^nd living under particular conditions of soil and 
climate, they had developed independently. 

Naturally, the ithravans first attached themselves in 
Eastern Iran to that portion of the people which most 
resembled them in culture and civilization. They sought 
and found their first support among those tribes that had 
already been accustomed, more or less, to the cultivation of 
the soil as well as to settled dwellings. 

Starting from this centre they endeavoured to extend 
their civilizing influence also among the wild and inde- 
pendent tribes. And, indeed, their doctrine, pervaded by 
pious zeal, was useful also for practical purposes, so that it 
was calculated more than any other religion to mitigate 
the ruggedness of the country and of its people. 


On the Home and Age of the Avesta.* 

General Remarks, 

In writing my " Civilization of the Eastern Iranians in 
Ancient Times," I did not devote a separate section to the 
question respecting the home and age of the Avesta. 
I believed that the list of geographical names occurring in 
the Avesta would suffice to show its Eastern Iranian origin, 
and that a description of the state of civilization it depicts 
would be enough to prove its great antiquity. 

I have since been charged by my reviewers — with the 
exception of the criticism of M. Tomaschek, {Auslam/, 
1883, No. 42) — ^with over-estimating the age of the Avesta, 
and disregarding the important arguments in favour of its 
Median origin. I am, therefore, compelled to go more fully 
into the subject, in order to justify the view I have adopted. 
I shall begin with the two following statements: — 

(i) The country in which the civiliza- 
tion of the Avesta people took 
its rise, was really Eastern Iran. 
(2) It is a civilization of great antiquity, 
and dates back at least to a time 
antecedent to the Median and 
Persian kings. 
I shall now make it my task separately to verify these 
two statements, and meet the arguments adduced on the 
opposite side.^ I shall also endeavour not to overlook any 

* This treatise, entitled Vaierland und ZeitalUr des Awesid und 
seiner KuUur^ was suggested to Dr. Geiger by Prof. Kuhn, and 
was first published in the Sitzungsberichte der VgL Bayer, 
Akademieder Wissenscha/ien^ yd May 1884. 

^ I shall make use of the following abbreviations in quoting 
from writers to whom I shall have to refer often : — 


of those arguments, claiming at the same time similar atten- 
tion to all the reasons I may bring forward on my own side, 
A few preliminary remarks before I begin — 

1. The expression, **Home of the Avesta, " is not quite 
precise. It may be asked whether it is meant to denote 
the territorial extent of Zoroastrianism and the home of 
the Avesta people, or the province to which the Avesta 
owes its origin. I take the expression in the former sense ; 
for it is not evident whether the Avesta was originally com- 
posed in Sogdiana, Merv, or Ragha.* Even if we were to 
identify the home of Zarathushtra, the place where the 
Avesta was written would still remain uncertain. The 
question as to whether we can at all speak of an Eastern 
Iranian civilization is more practical. The difficulty lies in 
discovering whether the territory occupied by the Arians 
of the Avesta differed from that held by the Medes and 
Persians in historical times. 

2. As regards the age of the Avesta, we cannot merely 
speak of it as '* over-estimated. '^ (J. i. Sp. 1477). The 

1 Sp. I . For Spiegel, Vtshtaqpa oder Hysiaspes und das Reich der 

Bdklrtr ; Sybels Historische ZeUschrift- vol. VIII. 
pp. I seq. 

2 Sp. 2. For Spiegel, Ueber das Vaterland und das Zeitaller des 

Awestd; Zeiischrift der deuischen morgenldndischen 
Gesellscha/ty vol. XXXV. 188 1, pp. 62^seq. 

3 J. I. For Justi's Review of my Osiiran. Kultur, "Civilization 

of the Eastern Iranians"; Philolog. Wochenschrift^ 
2Sth November 1882, No. 47. 

4 H. I. For C. de Harlez, Avesta traduii, 2nd ed. Paris, 188 1 ; 

especially the " Introduction." 

5 H. 2. For C. de Harlez, Le calendrier Persan ei le pays origu 

naire du Zoroastrianisme ; Bulletin de VAth^nU 
Oriental^ 188 1, pp. 79-97, IS9-183. 

6 H. 3. For C. de Harlez, Review of my Osiiranische Kuliur 

im Alterihume; ibid, 1883, pp. 217-225. 

7 H. 4. For C. de Harlez, Origine de V Avesta et son interpret 

iation] Le Mus4on, vol. I. 1882, pp. 494-So5« 
* I shall speak especially of Ragha at greater length further on. 



question is simply this : — Is the Avesta of greater antiquity 
than Medo-'Persian history? Is it of more recent date, or 
contemporary with it? 

3. Dr. Spiegel (Sp. 2. pp. 639-640 ; cf. also Sp. i. p. 1 1 ) 
says: * " Now, as regards the theory of a Bactrian origin 
for the Avesta, only indirect proofs can be brought in 
support of it, for once only is Bactria directly mentioned 
byname.'* Again, Prof. C. de Harlez, (H, i. p. xlv.) : '* On 
affirme gendralement que ce {i.e. the home of the 
Avesta) fut Bactriane*^ For my own part, as I have 
suggested in my first remark, I do not believe that the 
Bactrian country was the special home of the Avesta. 
I am much more inclined to be guided by the general 
contrast between Eastern and Western Iran, which appears 
to me inherent in the nature of the country, and which is 
so prominent a feature to this day in Persian history. 

4. Finally, let me observe that, naturally, I do not 
look on the Avesta as it now exists as identical with the 
original Avesta. I entirely agree with Dr. Spiegel, who 
says (Sp. 2. 638): — "Our Avesta is a prayer-book abridged 
from the great Avesta for liturgical purposes.'' * But what 
conclusion must we draw from this? Probably no more than 
that the Avesta, as we have it, is incomplete, and has even 
in many instances undergone much alteration; nevertheless 
its substance is entirely derived from the originaL However, 
it is by no means certain, (though not impossible, or 
rather very probable, and in some cases evident), that in the 
compilation of this '' Manual of Liturgy, " much was 
inserted in the text \as mere explicative words or 
commentary]. In order to distinguish the matter inserted 
we must discover certain signs. Let me point out some of 

^ Was nun die Entstehung des Awes/a in Bakirien hetrifft^ so 
wird man da/ur zumeist nur indirekte Beweise finden musseny denn 
direkt wird Baktra nur ein einziges Mai genanni, 

• Unser Azvesla ist ein Gebeibuch, zu liiurgischen Zwecken aus 
demgrossen Awesta ausgezogen. 


■ — —^ — - ■ ■ ■» . p 

them. If any phrase disturbs the metre, which would be 
otherwise regular, it may be regarded as an interpolation. 
Now the question also arises, whether such phrases are 
composed by the compiler, or are extracts from some other 
genuine texts of the Avesta. All isolated passages, and 
especially such words and expressions as have no proper 
connection with the context, must be carefully examined. 
They should only be brought to bear generally on questions 
concerning the history of civilization, where they in no way 
contradict the other statements of the Avesta. Above all, 
we must beware of attaching too great importance to brief 
and isolated observations. On the contrary, we must be 
always careful that any passage brought forward as proof can 
be supported by others. As a rule, the evidence of language 
is not to be relied on. We do not even know how far the 
language of the original sacred books was familiar to the 
compilers of the *' Liturgy.'^ That the time which elapsed 
between the writing of the original Avesta and the compila- 
tion of the " Liturgy, " was a period of transformation of 
language, is, so far as I am aware, generally accepted. At 
best, it is only when grammatical and material evidences 
coincide, that we may fitly attach importance to the latter. 

§ 7. The Home of the Avesta. 

After what I have said in my opening statement (i) the 
question may take this form : *' What were the places 
inhabited by the Avesta people ? In what country did the 
civilization represented in the Avesta take its rise and 
develop itself?" Every one will allow that the answer 
to these questions must be sought in the first place in the 
Avesta itself. 

Dr. Spiegel (Sp. 3, pp. 639-640) says : * " Moreover, it is 

' " Wenn ferner behaupiei wird^ das Awesta ignoriere den 
WesUn Irans vollsidndig, so is/ das nichi richtig ; denn das 


incorrect to assert that the Avesta makes no reference at 
all to Western Iran ; for not only is Lake Urumia ( Chau 
chasta) mentioned but also Babylon (Bawri). Thus it is 
familiar with the land west of the borders of Iran. Among 
the arguments in favour of an Eastern Iranian origin for the 
Avesta, particular stress is generally laid on the evidence 
of the register of lands in the first Fargard of the Vendidad, 
where only names of Eastern Iranian places occur. 
Without taking into consideration the fact that Ragha 
and Varena cannot be regarded as Eastern Iranian 
districts, and leaving out of account Airyanem valjagh^ 
we must nevertheless recollect that in Vendidad, I. 81, it is 
expressly stated that other places and towns existed whose 
names did not appear on the register. Besides this^ I 
must confess that I consider the age of this first Fargard to 
be greatly over-estimated. " ^ 

Prof. C. de Harlez agrees with the writer quoted above. 
(H. 3. p. 222) : 

'* Puis nous considirerions le pays de V Avesta comme 
VEran septentrional et non comme oriental. Une region 
qui s'itend jusqu'au Suddela Mer Caspienne^ ne peutiire 
prise pour V Orient de VEran^ 

Awesia kennl nichi bloss den Urumiasee {Tschaiischasta) sondern 
selbst Babylon {Bawn), seine Kenniniss reicht also westlich noch 
ikber die Chrenzen Irons hinaus. Ein besonderes Gewicht wird 
bet den Beweisen Jur den osfiranischen Ur sprung des Awesia 
gewbhnlich auf das Landerverzeichniss im ersten Fargard des 
Vendidad gelegt, wo angeblich nur ostirantsche Orte genanni 
werden, Abgesehen davon^ dass Ragha und Varena nichi als 
osHranische Landschafien gelien konnen, urn von Airyanem vaejagh 
zu schweigen^ so muss man sich erinnern, dass Vd* /. 81 
ausdrucklich gesagi wird, dass es noch andere Orie und Pldize 
gebe. Sonsi muss ich gesiehen^ dass nach meiner Ansichi das Alter 
dieses ersten Fargards sehr uberschdizi wirdJ' 
* C/. similarly Sp. i. p. 11. 
VOL. n. M 



As regards the latter remark it must be admitted that 
Ragha does not belong to Easter^i Iran ; it lies close to 
the natural bridge connecting Western and Eastern Ir^n. 
Now, if all the other places mentioned are in Eastern 
Iran^ then surely, in spite of -Ragha being mentioned, we 
are justified in speakingof an '* Eastern Iranian civilization/' 
It must also at the same time be accepted as a known fact 
that at this one point only it extended beyond the frontiers 
of Eastern Iran. The very nature of the country sufficiently 
explains this circumstance ; for, when the Iranian people had 
reached the " Bridge of Khorasan," they must necessarily 
have gone further westward, for deserts prevented their 
expansion towards the North and South. 

At all events^ it will be allowed that the name Eastern \ 
Iran is more appropriate than Northern Iran would be. 
To the latter must, however, belong Atropatene, while 
it could never have included such places as Haitumaty 
Harahvatiy Pisana^ Vaikerta — pure Avesta names — which 
belong to modern Afghanistan. 

Northern Iran, moreover, has no existence as a geogra-. 
phical division. Between the North and the South, whether! 
towards the West (Media, Susiana, Persia), or towards 
the East (Afghanistan, Baluchistan), there is no natural 
boundary ; but the central desert of Persia divides the 
plateau of Iran into Eastern and Western districts. A 
line drawn from Asterabad through Tebbes to Kirman, 
nearly marks the division ; but North and South of the 
Persian desert the two halves meet again. 

The main point of my argument is this : — ^that, in spite i 
of the reference to Ragha in the Avesta, the greater 
part of Media, all itropatene, Susiana, and 
Persia, were outside the pale of the Avesta 
people. But these were the very countries, which, in 
historical times, were especially the nurseries of the 
civilization of nations. 

Hitherto I have confined myself entirely to meeting the 


objections of Prof. C. de Harlez to the term '* Eastern 
Iranian Civilization/* on the ground that Ragha is 
mentioned in the Avesta. Let U3 now consider Dr. 
Spiegel's remark, against which a great deal may be 

I. Besides the register of countries in the Vendidad, 
I also base my theory of an Eastern Iranian origin for the 
Avesta on the juxtaposition of all the names of places 
occurring in it, and on the very interesting passage, Yt. 
X. 13-149 where, speaking of Mithra, the yazata of the 
rising sun, it says : — 

** Who first, decked with gold, 
Grasps the bright mountain-tops ; 
Thence he looks over the whole land 

Of the Arians, the glorious one where 

navigable waters, 
Broad with swelling waves, flow 
To Ishkata and Poruia^ 
To MorUy Haraiva^ and Gava, 
To Sughdha and to QdrisemJ^ * 

Dr. Spiegel does not refer to this passage; and yet it is 
of special significance, for in it the name airyo-shayana is 
expressly used for the ** Land of the Arians." Of the seven 
names of places it mentions, two, viz., Ijhkai^ and 
Poruta^^ are unknown ; the others,, without exception, are in 

* Should any one be inclined to consider the words 5 ishkatem 
to qairizemcha as an interpolation, the passage would m that case 
prove even more useful to my argument. The insertion would, of 
course, be of later date than the original text itself, and would serve 
as an additional proof that, even during a period later than that in 
which the Hymn of Mithra, (Yt. X. 13-14), was composed, the 
airyo-shayana was still confined to Eastern Iran, 

' C. de Harlez also situates them in Eastern Iran (H. I. p. 448, 
note i). Ibid, p. xxiv. and xlvi. with reference to the passage cited 
above from the Mithra Yasht. 




Eastern Iran, and four of them appear also in the list of I 
countries named in the Vendidad. \ 

Here, then, we have a very important passage, analagous 
to the register of places often quoted, which indisputably 
adds to its value. 

2. I do not see what arguments can be adduced todisprove 
the antiquity of the first Fargard of the Vendidad. This 
document need not be regarded only as an enumeration of 
tribes, but as a part of the Avesta itself ; and that it is of later 
date than any other part cannot be proved with certainty. 
If this were so, it would be even more striking, that, with 
the exception of Ragha, only names of Eastern Iranian 
places occur in it. Again, we must not be misled by the 
frequent use of the modern forms of these names, for this 
is sufficiently explained by the various revisions of the 
Avesta, during which it is easy to conceive the revisers 
would have preferred to exchange obsolete names for such 
as were popularly current, or which at least nearly resembled 
those in common use. 

I may further observe that I do not ascribe to the 
transcribers of the Avesta the alteration of the names, 
which was doubtless the work of the revisers, to whom 
the old terms were, indeed, no longer familiar. Again, the 
loose grammar of many passages in the Avesta must not 
be ascribed to careless copying of the manuscript, but 
rather to the ignorance of editors adapting their own 
language to the text. 

3. The concluding passage, "There are also other 
places, &c.," proves next to nothing. The places could 
equally well have been in Eastern Iran, so far as may be 
inferred from the tone of the writer. At all events it would 
seem very singular that a Zoroastrian of Western Iran should 
look on the districts of Eastern Iran only as God-created, 
thus entirely ignoring the claims of his own country. 

4. Bawri cannot be mentioned by way of proof. So 
far as the question relates to the home of the Avesta 



people, we must confine ourselves to those districts only 
which are included in Iran. But Bawri was the home of 
the Dahaka, and therefore situated in a foreign country 
according to the Avesta. The power of Babylon may 
probably have been known to the old Irfinians, but this is 
no reason for supposing that it was within the territory of 
the Avesta people. 

5. It is by no means impossible that Chaichasta is Lake 
Urumia. If so^ it forms a singular exception to the numer- 
ous other localities mentioned in the Avesta. Perhaps, as 
in the case of Bawri, we may assume that it was situated 
beyond the district inhabited by the old Iranians, lying, as 
a matter of fact, at a considerable distance to the West of 
their territory. Perhaps it was at some later period that the 
name Chaichasta was given to Lake Urumia. But upon 
this I shall dwell further on. 

I must now discuss the question in detail. 

As regards the geographical names occurring in the 
Avesta, I must refer to the list of mountains given in Yasht, 
XIX. II seq* It is to some extent of no value, since their 
exact positions cannot be assigned to these mountains. 
With the help of the Bundehesh some information can be 
gathered concerning the following names. The Ushiddo 
and the Ushidarna stand in Segestan, and therefore in East- 
ern Iran, as does also Uparusaina. ^ The Antar-kangJia and 
Sichindava are to be looked for in Kandiz, 1'.^., on the frontier 
between Iran and China ; Syamaka and Vafraka in Kabul. 
Raiva lies in Khorasan and near it stand Spentodhata 
and Kadrva-aspuy which, according to the Bundehesh, are 
situated near Tus (Meshed). Only the Asnavdo is situated 
in £tropatene. Of the other mountains mentioned, the 
Arzura, Mainakha, Vdit'gaisa,Sind Taira, are well-known, 
and to these I shall revert further on. Finally, we must 

* C/. West, " Pahlavi Texts," part I. pp. 36-37 note. 



mention Kauinsa, which is supposed by the Vedas t(^e 
situated in Iran. 

To the geographical statements of the Bundehesh I 
attach little importance, since it sets up a world-system of 
which no trace is to be found in the Avesta. Nevertheless, 
if we rely on its authority, all those mountains, the 
geographical positions of which we can trace with its 
help, must be in Eastern Iran, with the single exception 
of the Asnavant. 

The following are the other geographical names 
occurring in the Avesta: — Aryana-vaija ; the rivers 
Ddtya and Darja ; Sughdha and Gava ; Qdrizem ; the 
rivers Rangha (with the Gaudha or Gudha) and Ardvi- 
sura-Anahita; the mountains Hara-berzatt viiihihe Taira 
and Hukarya ; Kangha^ Vaiska^ and Khshathro-sauka ; 
the lake Voru-kasha ; Moru ; Bdkhdhi ; Nisaya; Haraiva 
(Vdti-gaisa) ; Vaikerta ; Urva ; Harahvati ; Haitumat ; 
Vehrkdna {Khnenta) ; Varna; Chakhra; Ragha; Pisina; 
Hapta-hindavo ; the lakes Kansu^ Chaichasta^ Frazddnava, 
Husrava^ Vanghazda^ and Awzhddnava; the mountains 
Ushida and Ushidarna^ Arzura, Mainakha^ and Erzifya^ 
and also the river Vitanghvatt. 

I need not here mention again Bawri and Kvirinta, since 
I have already stated my opinion regarding them ; as 
also Ishkata and Poruta. Of Ragha, too, I have spoken 
already. Here the point in question only refers to those 
parts of Eastern Iran over which the Avesta people 
extended themselves. Chakhra and Varna mark the 
period of transition and are to be sought for, according 
to general belief, in Taberistan. If, apart from this 
district, Eastern Iran was the scene of the civilization of 
the Avesta, are we not then amply justified in speaking 
of an Eastern Iranian civilization ? 

We may still further simplify our task. We may pass 
over the names Vanghazda, Awzhdanava, and Vitanghvati, 
as there is no means whatever of forming an opinion as 



to their situation. The same may also be said of the 
mountains Mainakha, Erzifya, and Arzura. The Aryana- 
vaija forms a group with the Datyaand Darja. Therefore, 
wherever the latter were situated the Aryana-vaija must 
have been near them, and its position is never distinctly 
described ; but the description includes that of the Datya 
and Darja. The same is the case with the Kangha, 
Vaiska, Khshathro-sauka, and Hara-berzati which includes 
the Taira and Hukarya. Again the Sughdha and Gava, 
the Vehrkana and Khnenta form one group. 

The Rangha, the Ardvi-sura, and the Voru-kasha^ are 
generally considered by my critics to be mythical places, 
and, as far as I know, no one has been able with any 
certainty to locate them in Western Iran. Therefore, they 
are also useless for purposes of evidence. ^ 

As regards the remaining names, nine of them belong 
indisputably to localities in Eastern Iran (Sughdha, Qarizem, 
Moru, Bakhdhi, Haraiva, Harahvati, Haitumat, Vehrkana, 
Pisina), since they exist there to the present day. The 
remaining eight, namely, Nisaya, Vati-gaisa, Vaikerta, Urva, 
Hapta-hindavo, Kansu, and the mountains Ushida and 
Ushidarna,* are now generally recognized, even by my 
opponents, as having been situated in Eastern Iran. On 
four of the names or groups of names (Aryana-vaija, Hara- 
berzati, Kangha, Frazdanava), no unanimous decision has 
yet been arrived at ; nevertheless most writers, at least in 
the case of the two last mentioned, are inclined to locate 

* In my " Civilization of the Eastern Iranians, " pp. 34 seq. 
and pp. 45 ^^^j I hav^ explained the theory of the Rangha being 
the Jaxartes (Syr-darya), the Ardvisura the Oxus (Amu-darya), 
and the Voru-kasha Lake Aral or the Caspian Sea. Besides^ this 
view is also shared by others. 

■ Doubts might certainly be raised as to the district of Nisaya, 
which means only ** a settlement," nevertheless we have a passage 
in the Vendidad (I. 8), where its situation is described. Cf, also 
M. Tomaschek, Ausland, 1883, pp. 822-823. 


them in Eastern Iran. Only two localitiesi viz., the Lakes 
Chaichasta and Husrava are looked for in Western Iran, 
and this without any definite reason. 

He must be very hard to satisfy who is not convinced 
by the arguments set forth above. In my opinion they 
point so decidedly to Eastern Iran as the home of the 
Avesta people that further confirmation seems hardly 
necessary. Nevertheless, I hope to be able to prove that 
Aryana«vai]a and Hara-berzati should be sought in the 
East, or at least to show the insufficiency of the arguments 
on which the theory of their situation in the West is based* 
Lake Chaichasta we must deal with later on. 

In the first place, as regards Frazdanava, no one has as 
yet assigned it to Western Iran, but the whole testimony 
of tradition agrees in locating it in the Eastern province.^ 
Dr. Spiegel's latest remark on the subject is indeed 
somewhat diffident : — " Frazdanu or Frazdanava is, accord- 
ing to the Bundehesh^ a lake in Segestan ; but M. Lagarde 
has (not unreasonably) traced its name in that of the 
Armenian river Hrazdan^ which is possibly correct 

" ^ Every one will surely allow that the 

similarity between an Armenian and an Iranian 
name proves nothing at all as regards the identity of the 
places named^ but rather renders such identity improbable. 
The Avesta mentions a river Haravati and the Rig-veda a 

* Cf. especially Bahman-yasht, ch. III. 13, West, '* Pahlavi 
TextSf" part I. p. 220. Auharmazd spoke thus : " O Zaratusht 
the Spitaman, when the demon with dishevelled hair, of the race 
of wrath, comes into notice in the Eastern quarter, first a black 
token becomes manifest, and Hushedar, son of Zaratusht, is born 
near lake Frazdan." Again, Bundehesh, ch. XXII. 5 (ibid, 
p. 86). 

• Vide Sp. I, p. 17 / " Das Wasser Frazdanu oder Frazdanava 
isi nach dent Bundehesch ein See in Segesian ; allein dasselbe 
Wort hat Lagarde mii Reckt im Namen des Armenischen Flusses 
Hrazdan erkannt, an den man auch denken hann . . . . " 


Sarasvati, but no one will venture to assert that these* 
rivers were, therefore, identical. 

Until quite . recently, nd diffeferice of opinion existed 
concerning Kangha, Valska, and Khshathro-sauka. The 
Avesta places kangha evidently in Turan,* which is always 
understood to be tKe country north of the Oxus. The 
testimony of the Bundehesh, the Minokhired, and of the 
" Book of Kings '* by Firdusi, agrees with that of the 
Avesta. Kangha is always referred to as a district in the 
far North-Easit. f/ere 70e surely have a firm footings 
which we should not fail to make goody unless we wish to 
cut away the ground fi*onl uilder our own feet. And yet 
Dr. Spiegel starts a theory thai Kangha was in the West, 
( Sp. I, p. 20) ; but apparently without any authority, and 
in direct opposition to the evidence of tradition which he at 
other times values so highly. His line of argument runs as 
follows: — Kangha was the home of the HuntiSj the enemies 
of Vishtnspa. The Hvyaunas and the Vardhakas appear 
elsewhere in the Avesta as the foes of Vishtfispa. The 
latter maybe identified with the Chionitae and Vartae, who 
dwelt on the western shores of the Caspian. But this is not 
possible, if Eastern and not Western Iran was the scene of 
Vishtaspa's career. So Dr. Spiegel thinks fit to locate 
Kangha, too, in the West and to look there also for the 
Hunus, though at the same time acknowledging that ** there 
is much evidence to show that it was in Eastern Iran, " 
adding, however, *' but the possibility always remains, 
that there were Hunus also on the western shores of the 

But Dr. Spiegel, who laboured after a ''historical" 
explanation of the Avesta with so much determination and 
achieved his object with so much success, makes the 

* Yt. V. 53-54, 57-58. Cf. O. K. A. pp. 52-54, 198-199. 
Windischmann, Br&l, Justi, De Harlez^ are all agfeed in locating 
Kanga in the East. 



following statement: — **The fact ought to be ad- 
mitted that, as far as we can gather from 
native sources, Kangha was situated in 
the East/' He ought certainly not to have sacrificed 
this fact for the sake of etymology. If it will not agree with 
the Chionitae, well and good; we must not try to identify the 
Hvyaunas with the latter, or else we must concede that 
Vishtaspa's activity extended to Eastern as well as toWestern 
Iran. Can we not with justice use Dr, Spiegel's own 
words:— ** The possibility remains that there were Hvyaunas 
(Chionitae) also on the western shores of the Caspian'' ? 

Let us now consider the Chionitae and Vartae, whom 
Dr. Spiegel (Sp. i, pp. i6 seq.) would identify with the 
Hvyauna and the Varedhaka of the Avesta. The identity is 
purely etymological and not historical. Does the identity of 
peoples follow from the identity of their names? The Mardoi, 
for instance, are said to have lived both in Persia and 
Hyrcania, and the Daai on the eastern shores of the Caspian, 
but at the same time beyond the Tanais-Jaxartes and in 
Persia.* Is it not rather probable that this similarity of 
names is only apparent? Even in external form the two 
words Vardhaka and Vartae are not alike. Dr. Spiegel^ 
derives the word Hvyaona or Hyaona from the ha^na of 
the A vesta and from the Middle Iranian word hayun^ 
Dr. Geldner,' on the contrary, is of opinion that the word 
should be derived from hva-yaona^ meaning "one who 
goes his way, a wanderer, a vagabond.'' According to 
him it is not generally a proper, but a generic name. 

• Cf. vol. 1. pp. 58^ 40-4*1 O.K. A. K>. 20J.204, 200-201. 

• Dr. Spiegel's reference to the hayun rui in Firdusi, which 
might be explained by the change of meaning from the Old 
Iranian haena to the Middle Iranian hayuriy is very ingenious. 
But the Syriac hveenai with its initial hv does not entirely stiit 
this interpretation. 

• Avestastudiettt p. 83, 


If this etymology be correct — ^and the passages in the 
Avesta seem to support it — then the identification of the 
Chionitae with the Hvyauna loses all value as historical 

But, now what do we know of the Chionitae ? Ammianus 
says of them : — ^^Datiano et Cereali consulibus cum universa 
per Gallias studio cautiore disponerentur formidoque 
praeteritorum barbaricos hebetaret excursus rex Persarum 
in confinis adhuc gentium extimarum, iamquecum Chionitis 
et Gelanis omnium acerrimis bellatoribus pignore icto 
societatis rediturus ad sua, Tamsaporis scrip ta suscepit^ 
pacem Romanum principem nuntiantis poscere precativumJ^ 

(17. S. I.) 
If we add to this another passage from Ammianus {i8, 

6. 22),* to which Dr. Spiegel does nQt refer and wherein 

Grumbates, the king of the Chionitae, is mentioned with the 

king of Albania, we have the sum total of our knowledge 

of the Chionitae. From the latter being named with the 

Gelans, who must of course be understood to be 

the inhabitants of Gilan, and with the Albanians, it is 

indeed more probable that they dwelt on the western 

shores of the Caspian. On such an uncertain basis, or at all 

events on the mere identification of the names Hvyauna 

and Chionitae, does Dr. Spiegel ground his theory that 

Vishtaspa had his home in the West. Again, from the 

* Spiegel's etymology of the names, Chionitae and Hvyauna, 
might of itself mark them as generic terms. As such haena is 
often enough employed in the Avesta, {vide vol. I. pp. 28-29; 
O. K. A. pp. 191- 192.). 

* [ Dr. Geiger here alters the wording of the passage (p. 329, 
11. 6—18) as follows :— 

" Fugen wir zu dieser Sielle eine andere (Amm, 18, 6. 21), 
deren Spiegel nichi gedenkt, und in welcher der Chionitenkonig 
Grumhaies nehen dem Konig der Alhaner genannt wird^ so ist das 
alles, was wir von den Chioniien wissen, Durch ihre Zusammen* 


words, "This conquest of two nations* by Vishtaspa, in 

which Shapur II. wag concerned , " we gather 

that he assigns the origin of the Vishtaspa legend to the 
reign of King Shapur or still later. Now what can be his 
object in thus connecting it with Shapur ? By so doing he 
deprives his argupcient of the last vestige of evidence. At 
least he cannot venture to assert that the original Avesta 
was written in the fourth century after Christ I If so, his 
conclusion would amount to this; — ^'The Vishtaspa legends 
of the Avesta bear a striking resemblappe to the history 
of Shapur II., therefore, they are productions of that 
time."^ Thus, then, they would lose all value as evidence 
for determining the home of the Avesta people and the 
antiquity of their civilization ; and we should have gathered 
only one argument in prpof of the spuriousness [?] of a 
portion of the book, especially of the passages quoted by 
Dr. Spiegel from the Yashts. 

Accordingly, the theatre of Vishtaspa*s wars was 
in the East ; in the East we must endeavour to find 
the country of Kangha; and it was in the East that he 
fought with the Hvyaunas and Vardhakas, and, likewise, 

siellung mit den Gelanen^ unUr denen wohl zweifellos die Bewohner 
von Gilan tu versiehen sind, und mit den Albanern wird allerdings 
wahrscheinlich gemacht^ doss sie im Wes/en des Kaspischen 
Meeres wohnten, Auf diese unsichere Basis und auf die jeden/alls 
nur hypothetische Vergleichung der Namen Hvjaufta und Chioniiat 
haut Spiegel seine Anndhmey doss Vischidspa im Westen gewohnt 

* " Diese Besiegung zweier Volkerdurch Vischiaspa, mitwelchen 

Schapur II, zu thun hatte *' The second nation refers 

doubtless to the Vertae of Ammianus, />., the Vardhaka, but as 
far as I know we have no authority for supposing a conquest 
of the Vertae by Shapur ; on the contrary, they appear to have 
been allies of the Persians (Amm. 19. 2.3). 

■ •' Die Sagen uber Vischiaspa im Awesta zeigen eine auffallende 
Aehnlichkeii mit der Geschichte Schapurs IL Sie sind also ein 
Machwerk aus dieser Zeit^' 


with the Huns. With regard to the l^itter I am inclined 
to draw attention to a paper of M. Tomasphek's {A us/and, 
1883, vol. LVI. p. 834), according to which the Finnish 
accounts of the invasions of the Northern Hiiin-yo from 
the Gobi date back to 1750 B. C. The mention made af 
them in the Avesta strengthens rather than weakens the 
claims of that book to a high antiquity.* 

If, in the last few pages i have been now and then 
compelled to digress into matter that pertains to the 
second part of my treatise, I shall now confine myself to 
purely geographical questions in discussing the Hara- 

I believe I may refer, in entering upon this subject, 
principally to my *' Civilization of the Eastern Iranians," 
(pp. 42-45), in which I locate that mountain-range in the 
East^ since the Avesta itself does so. When the Avesta 
says of Mithra, that he rises before the sun, as well as the 
moon and the stars over the Hara-berzati, it clearly proves 
that, for the author of such a passage, the Hara-berzati 
must have been situated in the East.^ It is, therefore, 
impossible to identify that range with the Alburz mountains, 
lying on the southern shores of the Caspian, in spite of 
their names being identical. The Alburz lay exactly to the 
West as regarded Moru and Bakhdhi, &c., and to th^ 
North with respect to the inhabitants of Ragha ; b u t 
never with regard to any of the terri. 

* As, for instance, Justi, (J. i, Sp. 1476), has done : " He 
hesitates to recognize this people (the Huns) in the Hunu, 
because they belong to a time more modern than the writing 
of the Avesta ;" he should rather have concluded that the passage, 
in which the Huns are mentioned, was of comparatively recent 
insertion. In my bpinion Tomaschek has now arrived at the 
right conclusion, and dispelled my doubts. 

* Again, it necessarily follows hence that the important part 
played by the Alburz in the world-system of the Bundehesh, is 
entirely unknown to the Avesta. 


torieSj in the East or South-East, men- 
tioned in the Avesta. 

Facts point the other way. I believe Hara-berzati to 
have been more than a local name. To such a range 
of mountains as those mentioned above, it is quite suited 
on account of its general meaning of ''High Mountains.'' 
The conjecture is also confirmed by the fact that the name 
was not merely confined to the Alburz of the Caspian^ but 
extended also to the Caucasus. The name Alburzond 
given by the Ossetes to the Elbrus, is evidently the same 
old Avesta word. 

Since we have found the name Hara-berzati applied to 
two quite distinct mountain-ranges, may it not possibly 
have belonged likewise to a third ? In the last we must, of 
course, recognize the great central highland of Asia, the 
Pamir, the Thianshan, and the Alai, which must have 
seemed to the Iranians of the Avesta to coincide exactly 
with the eastern boundary of their world. 

Finally, we come to Aryana-vaija and the rivers Datya 
and Darja. 

It is now, I believe, generally agpreed that Aryana-vaija 
is known to the Avesta itself only as a semi-mythical land. 
This I have never denied ; on the contrary, I have laid some 
stress upon it,* Hence two results may be deduced: — 

^ ( O, JiT, A, p,^o: " As to the Iranians of the Avesta, 
Aryana-vaija had already, so far as they were concerned, passed 
out of the domain of history into the region of legend." Cf. 
also p. 32, where the reasons are given for its having been chosen 
by the Avesta as the home and dwelling of Zoroaster. Like 
Ahura Mazda and Yima he is called sru/d-airyeni'vae/ahh (Ys. 
IX. 14) ; and the place of his birth is pointed out on the Darja, 
(Vd. XIX. 4. 1 1), where the house of his father Porushaspa stood, 
Zarathushtra, therefore, belonged to the East, if, as I hope to 
be able to prove, Aryana-vaija must be assigned to that quarter. 
We need not be hampered by the comparatively modern evidence 
to the contrary. All the best Occidental testimony also goes to 



firstly, that from the references to Aryana-vaija we must 
draw no elaborate historical conclusions ; secondly^ that it 
must have been a country beyond the true frontiers of the 
Iranian people, known to them more by tradition^ verbal or 
written, than by personal experience, bearing almost the same 
relation to them as the Rasci did to the Arians of the Rig- 
veda. We must satisfy ourselves, therefore, with a some* 
what general indication of the situation of Aryana-vaija. 

The semi-mythical character of Aryana-vaija is revealed 
by the fact that in the Avesta it is reputed to be the home 
of Ahura Mazda. ^ There he makes known to Anahita his 
will that Zarathushtra shall remain faithful to Him, and 
think, speak, and act according to His commandments* 
There, too, Ahura Mazda holds his meeting with the legen- 
dary king Yima ; and Zarathushtra is likewise spoken of 
as the *• renowned one in the country of Aryana-vaija.'' ^ 

The Avesta is, and must always remain, the earlie&t 
source of information, and it is a help to us in ascertaining 
the position of Aryana-vaija ; and here again we have to 
consider the evidence aflforded by the register of countries 

prove that Eastern Iran was the home of Zoroaster. '* By faf 
the majority of the old writers, moreover, describe Zoroaster as d 

Bactrian If against their statements it should be remarked 

that they ar6 all modern, we might respond by saying that the 
accounts which call Zoroaster a Mede, are proved to be still 
later and less numerous." (Sp. i, p. 3.) 

* [This fact does not necessarily prove the admixture of any 
liiythical element in the Avesta description of Aryana-vaija ; 
it rather confirms the Zoroastrian belief that the primitive land of 
the early Mazdqyasna^^s the abode of all piety and blessings, where? 
man was himself a spiritual power exulting in the glorification 
of the divine government, and, inspired with supernatural thought^ 
wasi in the moments of intense devotion, in communion with thd 
Creator and the good genii. TV. «.] 

• Yt. V. 17-18; cf. Yt. XV. 2; Yd. II. 21; Ys. IX. 14. 
Haumai too, offers up his prayer to AnShita in Aryana-vaijai^ 
(Yt. V. 104). 


in the Vendidad. If the antiquity of the register is 
disputed, at any rate no one will deny that it is of earlier 
date than the traditional Parsee writings, than the 
Bundehesh or the Minokhired ; and at the time of its 
translation it was even regarded as an integral portion of 
the Parsee Scriptures and was translated, commented on, 
and interpreted in the same way as every other fragment 
of the great Avesta. 

Again in Vd. I. 3 we find :— ^ 

'* As the first of the lands and as th^ best dwelling- 
place, I, Ahiira Mazda, created the Aryana- 
vaija (the country) sitliated On the good Datya. 
Thereupon Angra Manyu, who is full of death, 
counter-created the water-serpentsi and a winter 
produced by the demons.*' 

From this we gather two conclusions f — that Aryana- 
Vaija was on the Datya, and that it suffered from very 
severe winters. But more important still is the order in 
t^'hich the countries are enumerated in the Vendidad and 
the positions which each of them holds. Aryana-vaija 
heads the list, and is followed by Sughdha, Moru, 
Bakhdhi, Nisaya, Ftaraiva, indisputably following the course 
from North to South. Hence it follows alttiost certainly 
that Aryana-vaija was further North than Sughdha. No 
objection can, therefore, be taken, if we locate it in 
Upper Fergh anah^ 

* Even Justi is forced tb admit that Aryana-vaija is tepreserited 
by the Vendidad as the country furthest to the North-East (J. i, 
Sp. 1473)1 and I have as yet never come across ally attempt to 
fi,ccount for the extraordinary interpretatiori of the secjuence in 
the register, which would be necessary if wel were to identify 
Aryana-vaija with Arran ! I might ohce more refSr to the' attempt 
1 have made in niy O, K. A, pp. 3^6, 76-78, to explain this order 
df names, which has met with the approval of Dr. E.- W. West, 
who says : " It appears from theSe details (givett by Dr. Geiger) 
which are illustrated by a carefully-drawn map of the whole 


* ■ ■ ■ I ■■^^^— ■■ ■ ,!■- ■■■ ■»iMiH^»i-« ^11 II.,.. — ■■ ^ ■! ■ - ■ ■» ■ 1 1 » ■ ^m m ■ ■■ ■ ^ 

But, then, is this supposition at variance with the rest of 
the evidence afforded by the Avesta ? By no means. I 
have collected all the passages in which Aryana-vaija is 
mentioned, but in nofte (with the exception of Vd. I. 4) 
is there any direct evidence as to the situation of that 
country. Hence I cannot find any warrant for what 
Dr. Justi says : " Other traditions of the Avesta and of 
more modern works positively locate in the West the 
primitive land of the Avesta people, and thus probably 
also the home of Zoroaster/* ' As far as Aryana-vaija and 
the Avesta are concerned, it is an assertion without any 
convincing evidence. 

Again, the Avesta never alludes to the geographical 
situation of the Datya. We only know that on its banks 
Zari-vari and Vishtaspa offered their prayers for success 
in battle.^ Besides, it is only mentioned in the register 
of countries side by side with Aryana-vaija. 

region described, that the apparent irregularities in the arrange- 
ment of the names of these lands are quite consistent with the 
assumption that they are mentioned in the order in which their 
inhabitants accepted the Avesta religion. And as half the names 
are readily identified with the names of places mentioned by 
Darius in his Cuneiform Inscriptions, or by Greek writers, and 
still in use, it seems most probable that the other half arc also old 
names of lands still existing on the earth's surface, and are mythic 
only in so far as our present knowledge is insufficient to identify 
them with absolute certainty." (^Vide the Indian Antiquary ^ 
Dec., 1882, pp. 349-350). It is not proper to plead simply the 
geographical ignorance of the author. How is it then possible 
that we can attach importance to the very regular sequence in 
isolated groups ? 

* '^ Sonslige Ueberlieferungenim Awesla und in jungeren Werhn 
verlcgen das Urland (unHchst wohl das Vaierland des Zoroaster) 
hesiimmt in den Westen'' 

" Yt. V. 1 12 : IX. 29 ; In the same way, the two passages in 
the Avesta in which the Darja is mentioned (Vd. XIX. 4 and 1 1), 
are of less value in^<letcrmininp: its distinct geographical situation. 



But, now, what has led Dr, Justi* to identify Aryana- 
vaija with the country of Arran on the Lower Araxes 
near Atropdtene? A passage in the Bundehesh, which 
says : " Airan-vej lies at the si de of Atr5patka n/' ^ He 
professes to find this confirmed by another passage: 
**TheDaitik river (Datya) rises in Airan-vej and flows 
O^^ through Gurjistan (Georgia)," But Gurjistan is simply a 
conjecture of his own, elegant though it may be. The 
latest translator, Dr. West, retains the manuscript reading, 
which is simply an inaccuracy in the Pazand transcription 
of the word meaning generally '* mountain-land " (Kohis- 
tan).' Nor should any importance be attached to the name 
Arran. The ancient Airya na corresponds rather with the 
Middle and Modern Iranian Bran or Irdn than with Arran* 
Only compare Airyaman of the Avesta with the Pahlavi 
and Modern Persian Erman. 

Accordingly, I have set the scattered references of the 
Bundehesh side by side with the Avesta, and I do not 
think that it will be difficult to decide between the two.* 
Here I may remark that the obscurity of the statements of 
the Bundehesh with regard to Aryana-vaija and the country 
belonging to it, may also be proved. That the Vara of 
Yima was situated close to Aryana-vaija is shown by the 
second chapter of the Vendidad and expressed in clear 

* Beitrage zur alien Geographic PersienSy " Contributions to 
the Geography of Ancient Persia," p. i8. 

■ Bdh. XXIX. 12 (Justi, p. 70. 10). By-the-bye, I must 
observe that it is impossible that Arran should have been regarded 
as a mythical place during the last centuries before Christ, in which, 
according to the view of my opponent, the Avesta must have 
been composed ; since at that time it lay exactly within the pale of 
Iranian history and civilization. 

* West, " Pahlavi Texts,*' part I. p. 79, note i. 

* Again, Duncker says (Gesch. des Alter/hums, vol. IV. p. 24, 
note 4) : ** It still appears to me advisable to look for Aryana- 
vaija in the country lying near the sources of the Oxus." 



words in the sixty-second chapter (para. 15) of the 
Minokhired.^ Yet the Bundehesh locates it in Pars.^ 

iBut our view is further confirmed by the fact that 
the Minokhired,^ which is at least not less trustworthy* 
than the Bundehesh, looks for Aryana-vaija in the East! 
and locates it on the borders of Kandiz, which belongs toj 
the "country of the East," and which Dr. Justi himself' 
describes as being in the far North-East. 

I. Thus we have now arrived at the conclusion that all 
the geographical testimony of the Avesta points to Eastern 
Iran, save that Ragha is near the western frontier, and 
that there is no other place known t 
the present day, which lay further than 
Ragha to the West or South-West. 

We must now turn to Lake Chaichasta. There is no 
doubt that, according to the Bundehesh, this lake was 
situated in Stropatene, and, therefore, it can only be 
identified with Lake Urumia.* But it might be asked 
whether we have not here again another instance of the 
transfer of a name to a later period. Of course this view 
can be nothing more than a conjecture ; but, nevertheless, 
something may be said in its favour. 

* [Vide West, "Pahlavi Texts," part IIL p. 109, " (12) The 
spirit of wisdom answered (13) thus: * Kahgdez is entrusted with 
the eastern quarter, near to Satavayes, (14) on the frontier of 
Airan-veg6/ "] The Minokhired contains no such references to the 
rule of the Arabians in Persia, as are to be found in the Bundehesh. 
Thus the former seems to lay claim to a higher antiquity than the 

• Bdh. XXIX. 14, (following West's Translation). 

• Mkh, LXII. 13-14. Here we are only struck by the state- 
ment: ** Near to Satvgs," since the Star Satavaisa is elsewhere 
described as the ruler of the West. 

* West (" Pahlavi Texts," part L p. 85, note 4), states 
that Lake Urumia is called Khejest or Chechest by Hamdullah 


It was near Lake Chaichasta, that Frangrasyan (Afrasiab) 
was defeated and taken prisoner by Husrava.' Moreover, that 
the scene of the struggle between the Iranians and Tura- 
nians was the North-Eastern frontier of Iran, can scarcely be 
disputed. The Oxus forms the boundary between the two 
kingdoms, and, according as the one or the other gained the 
supremacy, so Khorasan on the rivers Kase and Shehd, 
Khvarizem (Khiwa), Dighistan, Soghd on the Gulzarriun, or 
Kang-bihisht became the scene of conflict. The fact, that 
at this time the residence of the Iranian kings was placed 
by Firdiisi in Istakhr or in some other western town, is 
absolutely unimportant. This would be an anachronism. 
Here the whole question is only concerning the great 
opposition betwen Iran and Turan, which occupied all the 
early legendary epoch, and this hostility found vent in 
North-Eastern Iran. 

We would, therefore, feel inclined to seek Chaichasta in 
the North-East. Anyhow, we must not admit that the 
history of the end of Afrasiab, related in the *' Book of 
Kings/* along with the abovementioned wars, wherein the 
Turanian king was driven to the North-East, appears 
inconsistent. If the name Chaichasta was transferred to 
Lake Urumia in the time of FirdusT, then the story of 
Afrasiab's wanderings and of his discovery is easily 
explained. The later localizing of this legend on 
the shores of Lake Urumia, would have necessitated 
its being brought into harmony, for better or for 
worse, with the other narratives which place the scene of 
conflict exclusively in the North-East. The conclusion 
best in accord with the most ancient accounts, and certainly 
the simplest and most trustworthy one, would be that 
Afrasiab, after he had been driven further and further away 
by Khosraw, at length fell into the hands of his enemies 
liear Lake Chaichasta, 

* Yt. IX. i8, 21 ; XVIL 41. Cf, Yt. V. 49- 


Is it not possible that it may have been Lake Issyk-kul ? 
This conjecture — for naturally it is nothing more — was 
suggested to me by M. Tomaschek.* 

2. That such a transference of names as I would 
assume in the case of Lake Chaichasta, occurred in some 
instances, is not to be disputed. No one will maintain 
that the Rangha of the Avesta meant the Tigris, and yet 
this river is meant by the Arang of the Bundehesh. Dr. 
Spiegel has already directed our attention to the migration 
of the names, Kur and Araxes. The transference of the 
name Hara-berzati I have pointed out above. Now the 
question arises whether, in these cases, a migration from 
East to West or one from West to East is the more 
probable. When we consider that we can prove almost to 
a certainty that all the Indo-Iranian tribes lived in territories 
lying to the North and South of the Hindu-kush, we may 
at once admit the fact of a migration of the Iranian names 
of places westward, concurrently with the extension of that 
tribe in that direction, just as we may observe a south- 
easterly advance of Indian names. The theory of a migration 
of geographical designations from West to East would pre- 
suppose a perfectly artificial conformation of the many 
streams of migrating tribes opposed to one another. 

3. I would now draw attention to the numerous names j 
of places mentioned in the Avesta. Without exception 
they all lie within the boundary indicat- 
ed by the (Avesta) register of countries. 
None of them, as we have observed, leads us further west- / 
ward than Ragha. Can this be a mere accident ? Should we 
then make an exception in the case of Chaichasta, an exception 
by no means authorized by the Avesta, (which contains no 

^ Ausland, 1883, p. 824. In determining the position of Lake 
Chaichasta we determine also that of Lake Husrava. If the 
former is the Issyk-kul, the latter is doubtless the Sson-kul. If, 
on the contrary, the former is Lake Urumia, then the latter must 
be Lake Van. 


allusion to its geographical position), but only founded on 
a far later application of the name ? Will not this only name 
be overborne, so to speak, by the weight of the rest? 
Does not the complete picture presented by all the 
geographical references in the Avesta concerning the 
home of the ancient Iranians, compel us to place Chaichasta 
also within the limits of Iran ? 

Fewer definite results are to be obtained from an 
examination of the ethnographical statements of the Avesta 
than by determining the geographical names. Here I may 
confine myself to a brief recapitulation of what I have 
already said on the subject in my '' Civilization of the 
Eastern Iranians," {;vide supra vol. I. ch. I. § 4, pp. 30 seq,; 
O. K, A. pp, 193 seq.) 

I have already observed that the reference to the Hunus 
points to Central Asia and not to Western Iran. Similarly, 
I have discussed the names, Hvyauna and Vardhaka, Again, 
we must look for the Tura in Central Asia, since the Oxus 
is actually mentioned as the boundary between their terri- 
tory and that of the Iranians. The Dahas, too, were divided 
from the Iranians by the Oxus. Indeed, Herodotus 
mentions a tribe of the Daai as inhabiting Persis^ as well 
as theMardoiand Sajartae. Moreover, we must assign the 
country of this nomadic tribe to the eastern shores of the 
Caspian, that is to say, the land of the Turcomans of the 
present day. Here their name is also preserved in the 
Middle Iranian expression Ddhistdn.^ Little need be said 
regarding the Sarima and the Sani, since neither word 
seems to be a proper name, but rather a generic term. 
Thus Sarima might be traced in the modern Sarma- 
tia without justify mg any supposition as regards an 
identity or relationship between the two tribes. I would 
adhere to my explanation of Maredha = the Mardoi and 

* Besides, the word Doha meaning simply " enemy " may well 
have been applied to quite different races. 



Driwika = the Derbikes, although Dr. Justi opposes this 
view. Again, the identification of Barvara with the 
appellation Barbar for the Hindu -kush tribes is not quite 
improbable. However, from these names we cannot infer 
anything that will help us to determine the home of the 
Avesta, as they are invariably spoken of as the plague of 
special districts, viz.^ Moru, Haraiva, and Bakhdhi.' 

We must now turn to the question of the age of the 

§ 8. On the Age of the Avesta. 


We begin with a documentum e silentio.^ The Avesta 
must have been in existence in a pre-Achaemenian, most 
probably in a pre-Median epoch. I. — Because the 
Avesta does not speak of any of the towns 
famous during the 1 atte r period, with the 
exception of Ragha, the high antiquity of 
which is thereby established. II. — T he Avesta does/ 
not mention any of the n a m es o f n at i ons 
that were commonly known at a later 
period. Neither does it allude to the Persians, 
Parthians, nor Medes, but simply to the Arians. III. — ^T h p 1 
Ave s ta c o n t a i n s no historical statement! 
concerning the battles between the Medeg/ 
and the Babylonians, the rise of the Persians! 
the prosperity and downfall of the Persian empire under 
the Achaemenian dynasty, the invasion of Alexandeij 
the Great, which agitated and reorganized the whole of the 
Orient, the states which rose on the ruins of the empire 
of Alexander, and the dominion of the Arsacidae. 

Who will believe that a work so copious as the Avesta 
could thus ignore all contemporary (or antecedent) events 

* Vd. I. 6^ 9, 7. 


and-circumstances? This would be conceivable, if it were 
merely a book of laws and ritual. But the Avesta 
frequently treats even of external events. It speaks of the 
inroads of hostile troops. The Yashts describe the battles 
waged with foreign nations. Attention is constantly 
drawn to the national antagonism between Arians and non- 
Arians, and likewise to the economic antagonism between 
the nomads and the agriculturists. The tribal constitution 
pre-eminently appears from the testimony of the Avesta, 
Princes ruling over the separate districts and particularly 
powerful personages unite the different Arian kingdoms under 
their own sovereignty — of whom Kavi-Husrava is especially 
remarkable. Is it possible that there could have been not 
even a single event of sufficient importance to induce the 
writers of the Avesta to make mention of kings among the 
Achaemenidae or the Arsacidae, who possessed still 
greater power ? * 

One can search the Avesta through and through^ without 
finding a single statement to which all that wc possess of 
Iranian history would give a clue. What is more natural 
than the assumption that it dates from a time in which 
there was no other trustworthy history of Iran. As a 
matter of fact y by such a supposition^ I think, much less 
is imposed upon our "faith '* than by the assertion that 
this utter absence of historical allusion is purely 
" accidental, *^ 

Such an accident is quite incredible, indeed, if we 
regard Western Iran as the home of the Avesta; but it is 
equally inconceivable if we place it in Eastern Iran. Read, 
for instance, Prof. Max Duncker's Outlines of the History of 
the Kingdom of Bactria^ at the time of the Achaemenidae 

* I have here only recapitulated, in order not to repeat myself, 
the several points which I have already treated at length in my 
Osiiranische Kultur, pp. .176-210, pp. 425 scq,; (vol. I. pp. 
1 1-48 ; supra pp. I scq,) 

" Gi'schichie des Alter thumSy vol. IV. pp. 15 acq. 



and of the Greco- Bactrian Princes :—" At no time was the 
Eastern part of the kingdom so shut off and isolated that itj 
would have remained untouched by events passing round it.*'i 
Dr. Spiegel writes : — ''Following the example of Prof/ 
Rhode, it (z>,, the first Fargard of the Vendidad) has of ten 
been compared with the list of tribes in Genesis ; and, as a 
proof of its great antiquity, the fact has been adduced of 
the absence in the Vendidad of the name Ekbatana, which, 
therefore, was probably not built when the Fargard was 
written. This is surely a proof of a peculiar nature. May 
we not equally well conclude that Ekbatana had already 
lost its early importance. " * The proof would be singular, 
indeed, if it were confined to Ekbatana. But the question 
here refers, not merely to the Median capital, but also to 
all the important towns which were famous after the 
Median period. Not only is Ekbatana ignored but 
also S u s a, Pasargadae, Pers-epolis, Istakhr, 
Hecatompylos and Seleucia. The several 
Alexandrias and such towns as Markanda, Cyropolis, &c., 
are not even once mentioned. How significant, therefore, 
is the fact that, of all the cities of the West, only ancient 
Babylon is named in the Avesta ! The renown of that 
powerful city spread even to the rugged highlands of 
Eastern Iran. 

* ** Nich/ sellen wird derselbe {der erste Fargard des Vendidad) 
nach dem Vorgange Rhodes mit der Volkeria/el der Geuesis 
verglichen und ah Beweis fur sein hohes Alter ihum der Umsiand 
angefuhrU dass Ekbatana nicht genanni werde und daher nock 
nicht gebaut gewesen set als j'ener Fargard geschrieben wurde, 
Dieser Beweis ist seltsam, man kann ebensogut daraus schliessen^ 
dass Ekbatana damals seine fruhere Bedeutung schon eingebiisst 
hatteT (Sp. 2, p. 640). Against Dr. Spiegers remarks on 
Ekbatana, it must also be observed that this city was not only 
powerful and famous in antiquity, but that its historical importance 
continued unimpaired from olden times throughout the Middle Ages, 
and survived more or less down to the last century of our era. 
VOL. 11. P 



To the second reason also, which I have adduced in 
proof of the great antiquity of the Avesta — namely, the 
absence of all names of nations^ such as Medes^ Persians, 
Parthians, &c., — we may attach no small importance, 
since they are in fact the names by which the Iranian 
races were universally known in historical times. It must, 
seem doubly striking to those who endeavour to identify » 
the Athravans of the Avesta with the Magi of the Medes ; 
for the religious and political conflict between the latter 
and the other tribes belonging to the Iranian empire, 
particularly the Persians, must inevitably have caused that 
name to be mentioned at least once. Let us see what 
evidence Herodotus furnishes and consider the passage in 
which he says : " The Medes were also called Arians." . 
Even this statement supports my argument. It runs as I 

follows : (x^^^^^^ ^ naXai wprfs iraPTiap''Apioi. Thus in noKat they/ 

were called '* Arians." In the time of Herodotus, t.e,, in' 
the fifth century B._C ., the name was already antiquated^ 
or at least its use was restricted. In the Avesta, on the 
contrary, at'rya is the only recognized and universal 
designation of the people.* 

It must not, however, be inferred that by the name '* Arian" 
the Avesta people are brought into close connection with the 
Arians of the Rig-veda. In the case of the latter also, and 
especially in all ancient writings, the name 2rya is an 
ethnographical designation, which, in later times, when the 
conquest of the habitable territory was finally accomplished, 
sank to the level of a mere class-name comprising the 
members of the three higher castes. In Iran, likewise, we 
find the name 5rya used only in the Avesta; but in later 
times, when the original nation had broken up into distinct 
tribes, the name entirely disappeared, giving place to the 
names of individual tribes. 

C/. my Osiiranische Ktiliur, pp. 168-169; (vol. I. pp. 2-3). 



In endeavouring to find positive proofs of the great age of 
the Avesta, we must look chiefly to internal evidence. 

Here I refer principally to the economic condi- 
tions of the Avesta people, a feature of their 
civilized life to which I have devoted particular attention 
in my ''Civilization of the Eastern Iranians/' but which 
unfortunately has not as yet been sufficiently studied. 

Th e existence, at every peri ^^J nf hUtnry^ m Trnn^ and 
particularl y in Eastern Iran, of nnm^Air tn'bp^^j gJHp hy f^\(^n 
wit h those who pursued agriculture, an d the continuance of 
this discordan t feature down to the pres en t day, are exp lained 
^jLtJift pafnr^ ni ftif* rmipfry. We need not, therefore, 
deduce^ t he great age of the Avesta from the tra ces of 
nomadic life wejnay: fiad injt. But the fact assumes quite a 
diflferenlaspefit, when the Avesta takes us back to a period, 
wherein parts or _ae£tLQns. of the peopl e in general make a 
first attempt to change_tjieir^anderin|^ lif e for a settled one ^ 
to a period in which the discordant e lement, which aft er- 
wards became historical, makes its first appearance. It 
makes an immense difference whether primitive eco nom ic 
conditions appear onl y inci dentally or whether they occup y 
the whole life and form the highest and essential interest s 
of the people; whether, in short, religio us and econo mic 
reforms go handTn-Tiand: 

I would here ask those who seek to identify the 
Athravans of the Avesta with the Magi of the Achaemenian 
and pre- Achaemenian periods, whether they can discover in 
those periods that warm interest on the part of the priests 
in agricultural matters, that eager support and encourage- 
ment of agriculture and cattle-breeding which are so 
prominently displayed in the Avesta? For my part, 
I cannot imagine such a thing ; for it hardly seems possible 
that, at a time when political feeling and party spirit ran 
so high, the Magi should have earnestly busied themselves 
with the laying out of fields, the planting of trees, and the 
digging of wells and canals. If we bear in mind the 


intrigues with which they were concerned after the death 
of Cambyses, we can no longer recognize in them the spirit 
of a simple and homely tribe of herdsmen and peasants, 
such as are the people described in the Avesta, which we 
are asked to regard as the Sacred Code of these very Magi ! 
This matter, however, requires to be somewhat more 
closely studied, in connection with the highly important 
question of the age of the Gathas and the relation they 
bear to the rest of the Avesta. 


While I hold the Gathas to be by far the oldest part 
of the Avesta, I do not entirely ground my belief upon the 
evidence of their language. Although it bears many marks 
of great antiquity, still it is not quite free from later and 
more polished forms of expression. Again, the language 
of the Gathas is essentially a distinct dialect, the difference 
of which from that of the rest of the Avesta may be easily 
explained by its having belonged to a different country. 

Nor do I lay stress upon the fact that the Gathas are 
quoted in other parts of the Avesta ; for these quotations 
may, as I believe, have been inserted in later revisions. 
They testify more to the great reputation than to the great 
age of these sacred hymns. At the same time it is not 
improbable that their reputation may have been due to 
their priority in point of time. 

This assumption is corroborated by another fact. The 
metre of the Gathas, although not so simple as that of 
the later books of the Avesta, has evidently remained 
comparatively undisturbed. Like the rest of the Yasna, 
the Gathas have not during their revision been, so to say, 
remodelled ; they were rather inserted in the Avesta as a 
book complete in itself. The Vendidad was handled in the 
same way, but was at first somewhat violently recast and 
varied with copious insertions. Evidently, therefore, the 



Gathas were considered as more sacred than the Vendidnd ; 
the reason of which was probably that they were attributed to 
Zarathushtra himself or his immediate disciples. There 
must have been some ground for such a belief, I am not 
quite ready to accept the theory entirely as it stands; 
however, it has always appeared to me to bear some 
marks of probability.* 

We have more valuable evidence of the age of the Gathas, 
in the fact that the personages who speak and act in them 
appear as the contemporaries of the poet, whilst in the rest 
of the Avesta they are represented as belonging to a remote 
past. I do not know why this feature has been so long 
ignored. This circumstance, which gives, so to speak, its 
present and actual character to the Gathas, constitutes the 
chief difference between them and the other parts of the 
Avesta, and necessitates the theory of a great difference in 

For instance, Zarathushtra is addressed in person in 
the passage, (Ys. XLVI. 14) : — 

*' O Zarathushtra, who is thy pious friend 

In thy great work ? Who is it, that wishes to an- 
nounce it? 

* Let me quote a remark of Dr. Jusli, (J. i, Sp. 1479) • — 
",..... j^ machen hei dem Fcr/assery der dock sonsi methodisch 
zu Werke geht, solche Anwandlungen von sympaihie mit der 
Gaiha forschung des seL Haug einen sonderharen EindruckJ* 
" This keen sympathy with the Gutha investigations of the 
deceased Dr. Haug, from an author generally so methodical, 
is strange enough." If this is meant as a reproach, I accept it 
gladly. I must not deny that Dr. Haug is often too subjective, 
but for our knowledge of the right way to comprehend the Gathas, 
we are much indebted to him. I am only sorry that I did not 
know it sooner I As an instance of my sympathy with Dr. Haug, 
Dr. Justi should certainly not have quoted the comparison of 
sYikyaoma with the Indian somay since I have utterly declined to 
endorse it. 


It IS he himself Kavi Vishtaspa, the armed-for-battle, 
And whomsoever, O Ahura Mazda^ Thou choosest 

from the settlers : 
Them will I extol with the holy sayings of the pious 


And Zarathushtra himself utters the words, (Ys. XLVI. 

'' Whoever in piety shows me truly good deeds. 
To me, Zarathushtra, to him shall be granted 
As a reward yonder next world, of all worlds the most 
worthy to be aspired to.'' 

In a similar manner Frasha-ushtra, (Ys. XLVI. 16) and 
Jamaspa, (Ys. XLVI. 17; XLIX. 9), who belong to the race 
of the Hvogvids, are personally addressed in the Gathas. 
In other passages Frasha-ushtra or Vishtaspa is placed 
side by side with the poet who says : '* To Vishtaspa and 
to me," '* For Frasha-ushtra and also for me.'' (Ys. 
XXVIII. 8 and 9; Ys. XLIX- 8 ; ^/. also, Ys. LI. 16-18). 
Likewise, Poruchista, - the daughter of Zarathushtra, is 
personally addressed (Ys. LI 1 1. 3). 

This personal character is common to all the Gathas. 
They seldom refer to Zarathushtra's work as a reformer. 
The poet mostly explains his own views, himself reveals 
the truth of his religion to the people and utters maxims 
of worldly wisdom or biology. The teaching of Zoroaster 
does not yet appear as a complete creed, but it is in 
course of forming and developing. The poet also 
frequently dwells upon the events — of which I shall speak 
further on — passing around him, as, for instance, the 
persecution of the Zoroastrian community. 

It is, I believe, incorrect to suppose that in the Gathas 
we have only to deal with purely imaginary personages 
who utter or listen to the words of the Prophet. Why 
should we make such an assumption only regarding the 
Gathas and not the rest of the Avesta ? The former are 


subjective poems, the latter on the contrary is merely a 
later compilation, wherein we only meet with the words 
of Zarathushtra and his teaching as quoted on his 

I now come to the main point. 

Whoever studies the historical and economical conditions 
of the old Iranian people, as they are described in the 
Gathas and in the other parts of the Avesta, must 
necessarily perceive that a substantial difference existed 
between the two. This has been already pointed out by 
me; but It is necessary that I sh^ld do sojiere ajgain, as 
hitherto all the facts have not been entirely considered. ^ 

In the Gathas the cow is the central object of Iranian 
economy. How important a part this animal plays in the 
sacred hymns, every one knows who has read even a few 
lines of them. This can only be satisfactorily explained by 
assuming that the cow was probably esteemed and cared 
for by the Iranian people in the age of the Gathas, just as 
it was by the Arians of the Rig-veda, and that great and 
special attention was paid to its breeding and rearing.^ 

The fruits of agriculture, the ploughing of the land, the 
sowing of seed and the harvest are all, indeed, mentioned 
in the Gathas ; nevertheless they are treated as subordinate 
to the care of the cow. 

We thus find the people of the Gathas in a particular 
phase of civilization, which will be recognized by every one 
who is familiar with the laws of the early economic develop- 
ment of nations. I mean the first transition from the 
life of the nomad to that of the settler, which is so closely 
bound up everywhere with the breeding of cattle. A people 
who have devoted themselves to cattle-breeding and have 

* Cf, my Ostiranische Kuliur, pp. 1 77-179; 403-406; 465-468 
i^vide vol. I. pp. 15-16 ; 228-229 ; supra pp. 49-50- 

■ Cf. Ys. XXVIII. i; XXIX. i-io; XXXI. 9-11, 15^ 
XXXII. 12, is; XXXIII. 3, &c. 


experienced how much more difficult it is to keep herds of 
large cattle than flocks of sheep and goats, become 
naturally inclined to greater stability and more permanent 
settlements in one place. Stronger and more lasting 
dwellings are erected; fields are cultivated with greater 
care and more systematically than by nomads, who support 
themselves only by reckless raubbau. 

That I am drawing a real, and not merely a fanciful picture 
of the economic conditions of the Gatha people, may be 
demonstrated by innumerable passages. It is asserted, in 
express terms, that it is the cow which is the giver of 
permanent homes ; which means that by cattle-breeding 
lasting settlements are occasioned and developed, (Ys. 
XLVIII.6). And, since continuous dwelling in one and 
the same place must naturally lead to a systematic tilling 
of the soil, the breeding of cattle is accompanied with the 
development of agriculture. This is expressed in the Gathas 
(Ys. XXXI. lo) in the following wise : — The cow decides in 
favour of the active labourer ; among agriculturists alone 
she finds the care and attention she requires. This explains 
what Dr, Roth has already remarked : — " The two verses, 
9 and lo, express the singular idea that the cow, the 
creation of which was a sign of God's special favour 
towards mankind, has, despising other masters, allowed 
herself to be as it were the property of the peasant."' 

We observe a difference in the later books of the Avesta. 
Herds still play an important part; but here agriculture 
and cattle-breeding are held in equal honour. Let us read 
only the third Fargard of the Vendidad, which is devoted 
entirely to inculcating the duty of cultivating the land, of 

* ^' Die heiden^ verse 9 und lo, sprechen den eigenthumlichcn 
Gedanken aus, doss die kuk, deren Schopfung eine besondere Gunsi 
Go lies gegen die Menschen isly andcre H err en verschmahend sich 
dtm Bauern gleicksam zum Eigenlhum gegehen halJ' (Ys. XXXI. 
p. 24) 


raising cattle and attending to all things connected therewith, 
and we are at once struck by this fact, that agriculture 
had at least become equal in importance to cattle-breeding. 
One need only compare the list of the meritorious works 
which delight the Spirit of the Earth : — L — Piety and a 
law-abiding course of life. II. — The founding of a perma 
nent household. Ill, — The cultivation of grain, of fodder 
for cattle, and the planting of trees. IV. — The breeding of 
sheep and cows (Vd. III. i-s). Agriculture has, likewise, 
reached a comparatively high state of technical develop- 
ment. The land is artificially irrigated and drained. 
Ditches, wellsj and canals are made; in short the Old 
Iranian knows how to assist sparing nature by means 
of art. 

Moreover, along with the economic change, a religious 
revolution is plainly observed in the Gathas, and the 
most noteworthy feature is that they are both intimately 
connected. The new doctrine is often represented as being 
oppressed and endangered. At first it is slowly gaining 
ground among the Arian people. The teaching of Zarathush- 
tra finds followers among the peasants, while the nomads 
keep aloof from it. It recommends the keeping of herds 
and extols the founding of permanent settlements^ and 
Zarathushtra is described in the twenty-ninth chapter of 
the Yasna, as the one chosen by the Almighty and His 
Amesha-spands to protect the cow from the oppres- 
sion of the wicked.' Zarathushtra then, perhaps a name 
representing an entire epoch in the history of the civiliza- 

* Moreover, this hymn must have been composed at the time 
of some specially grievous disaster ; for the Soul of the Cow even 
doubts the possibility of its protection by Zarathushtra. The other 
passages, which point to the struggle for existence of the new 
religion and its close connection with the economic revolution, 
are Ys. XXVIII. 6; XXX. 2; XXXI. i, 11-12, 18; XXXIL 
3-7, 10; XLIV. 9 ; XLV. I ; XLVI. 14, &c. 
VOL. U. Q 


tion of the Avesta people, appears before us as the reformer 
equally of the economic and of the religious life. 

We turn to the later Avesta and quite a different view 
unfolds itself before us. While the Gathas exhibit an 
ecclesia militans (a church militant), here, on the contrary, 
we find the church firmly established* The direction of the 
people is in the bands of a favoured class. The Athravans, 
whose name never occurs in the Gathas/ form the first order. 
The religious struggle for existence has ceased. There are, 
it is true, the wicked ones, the unbelievers and the false 
prophets. These are cursed, denounced, punished, but not 
feared. The doctrine of Zarathushtra is finally established. 
Sacrifices, ceremonies, customs, laws, and also such precepts 
as relate to daily life occupy considerable space. 

But, although from what was simple in the beginning a 
mature system has developed, the later parts of the Avesta 
still deal with the simple and homely lives of peasants and 
shepherds. Here also religion is quite inseparable from 
the punctual fulfilment of the professional duties of the 
peasantry.^ But at the same time other passages are not 
wanting, in which the meritoriousness of cattle-breeding 
and agriculture is extolled, where the divine agencies are 
implored to grant the possession of happy homesteads and 
innumerable herds of horned cattle and horses.' 

Finally, I refer in this place to Dr. Roth's excellent 
paper on the '^ Calendar of the Avesta and the* 
Gahanbars,''^ which, I believe, safely expounds the| 
theory that the Avesta calendar was intended for a nation' 
composed of agriculturists and herdsmen, whose annual 
feasts coincided respectively with the incidents of a 
farm life. Besides the festivals celebrated at the summer 

* Comp. my Ostiran* KuUur^ p. 465 ; {supra p, 49). 

• Let us read only Vd. III. 23-33. 

• (y., e,g,, Ys. LX. 2-3; Ys. XI. 1-2; Yt. VIII. 19; X. 3, 
II; V. 86, 98 and passim, 

* ZddmG, vol. XXXIV. p. 698. 



and winter solstices, there were also other feasts at the 
seasons of mowing, gathering the harvest, and driving 
the herds into summer-quarters. Moreover, the Avesta 
calendar, as I have already shown, bears the character of 
an essentially lunar chronology, which could only be 
conceivable in a highly primitive stage of civilization.^ 
Two conclusions may be deduced from the above facts : — 

I. The character of the entire Avesta shows clearly that 
the civilization it describes was simply a civilization of agri- 
culturists and herdsmen. It cannot be supposed that under 
a mighty empire, such as that foundedby the Achaemenides, 
the priesthood could have maintained such close relations 
with rural affairs, and that religious duty and the fulfilment 
of agricultural pursuits could have had such intimate 
reciprocal action, as even to be regarded as identical. 

II. In the Avesta itself we find clear proofs of domestic 
and social progress. The Gathas carry us back to a very 
early epoch, when portions of the Avesta people made the 
first attempts to introduce cattle-breeding together with 

^ This seems to me to be a very important argument in favour 
of the great age of the Avesta. It is impossible to conceive that 
a primitive rural calendar could have found a place in the 
writings of the priests at the time of the Achaemenidae or even 
later, when the Iranians were in the closest communication with 
the Chaldeans. As specially archaic traits of the calendar I 
note the following: — I. — Time was reckoned simply from one 
lunar phase to another. 2. — ^The week consisted, therefore, of 
fifteen days, as we may gather clearly from the intervals between 
the periods of the festivals. 3. — The variability of the synodic 
month was compensated by the insertion of an additional or 15th 
day in each half, which could evidently be omitted at the 
beginning if required. Comp^ Osiiran. Kultur^ pp. 314 seq, 
(vol. I. pp. I42 seq^. Prof. C. de Harlez is of opinion that the 
calendar of the Avesta was simply an invention of the priests 
(H, 2, pp. 165 seq^. This, however, is only true of the names 
of the days and months. Dr. Roth has pointed out how, in the 
same way, the Gahanbars are intimately connected with the life 
of the citizen {ZddmG. vol. XXXIV. pp. 698 seq.). 


the formation of permanent settlements. In the later 
Avesta, agriculture and cattle-breeding go hand in hand, 
and it even seems that prominence is given to the former. * 
Again, in the Gathas, we see Zoroastrianism struggling for 
existence, while in the rest of the Avesta it appears 
victorious and firmly established. The GathSs, therefore, 
were composed earlier than the other portions of the 


The primitive and antique conditions of the Avesta 
people, however, are revealed by a series of particular 
facts, which seem deserving of special notice. 

I. — The Avesta people do not seem to 
have yet known of salt and its uses. 
II. — Glass was unknown. 

III. — Coined money was not in circula- 
tion. Payment was made in kind. 
IV. — ^The working of iron was unknown. 
The Avesta nation is still in the 
bronze period. 

If I succeed in establishing these four points, or even 
one of them, it must, I believe, be admitted that we can no 
longer think of assigning the composition of the Avesta to 
the latest centuries before our era. 

On the first point I may be brief ; for in support of our 
view, we can adduce an argument, than which none can 
be better, namely, the fact that salt is nowhere 
mentioned in the Avesta. However striking this 
must appear-*-for in the lists of eatables there would have 
been many opportunities for mentioning this most important 

* Also Roth {ibid, p. 714) says: '* Die Jr&nier des Awesta 
sind gleichmdssig Bauern und Viehnuchier ; nur in den Leidern 
nimmi die Herde die erste Stelle ein, wie im Veda,'' " The Ir&nians 
of the Avesta are at the same time farmers and cattle-breeders ; 
only in the hymns, as in the Veda, the preference is given to herds." 



of condiments — it cannot be supposed that this absence of 
any reference to salt is to be attributed to a mere accident. 
I should have left this subject almost untouched, had it notl 
been worth while to give prominence to the curiousi 
coincidence that in the Rig-veda, too, salt is never men/ 
tioned.* The question, therefore, forces itself upon us, 
whether in this point, as in many others, we should not 
recognize a close analogy in the conditions of the Vedic 
and the Avesta Arians during the progress of their civiliza- 
tion. Allowing this to be only a possibility, or, at most, a 
probability, it must, at any rate, serve to strengthen other 
arguments. If we can otherwise prove that the civilization 
of the Avesta bears marks of great antiquity, we can no 
longer look upon this absence of any name for salt as a 
mere accident, but a highly characteristic mark of the 
nature of that civilization.' 

That glass was unknown to the Avesta people can be 
proved with almost absolute certainty. 

In the eighth Fargard of the Vendidad we find an 
enumeration of manufactures in which fire is employed. 
In my " Civilization of the Eastern Iranians," ' I have 
rendered the expressions Khumbat-hacha-Zemainupachikat 
and Khumbat'hachat'YdmO'pachikdt '' the burning of 
tiles, " and *'the burning of pottery." Dr. Spiegel has, 

• Zimmer, Aliindisches Lehen^ p. 54, 

• Cy my Osiiranische Kuliur, pp. 149. 150. [It is, indeed, 
very curious that salt and its use were not well known to the Avesta 
people as well as to the Arians of the Rig-veda, notwithstanding 
the existence of salt lakes and salt-steppes in Central Asia and 
near the Indus. It seems, therefore, that the Indo-Iranian 
people made little or no use of salt, but that, according to M. 
Hehn (Das Saiz,p. 17), its uses became known to the European 
section of the Indo-Germanic tribe after its emigration from the 
fatherland. That there were salt lakes in Iran does not neces- 
sarily argue in favour of Prof, de Harlez's theory that salt was 
not unknown to the Avesta nation. 7r. ».] 

• Vide vol. I, p, 214, note 3, Ostiranische Kultur^ p- 390. 


in the first volume of his *' Commentary on the Avesta/' 
(p. 264), identified y&ma with jam and translated it 
*' glass." Dr. Justi also writes in his Review of my 
" Civilization of the Eastern Iranians/' : — ** In page 390 
our author translates ^ama by 'crockery/ to distinguish it 
from 'earth' or 'clay' (Av. Zemaini) of the preceding 
sentence. The Pahlavi translation does not throw any 
light on the meaning, since the same words are somewhat 
erroneously used in rendering both the passages. But to 
the second passage there is added a gloss which we might 
read dbsinkardn and translate 'plaster-worker/ (Mod. 
Pers. dos 'flowers worked in plaster/) while the gloss on 
the first passage is obscure. The Riwayets give for Zemaini^ 
the Mod. Persian word khum ('earthenware vessel, tile- 
work), whilst for ;/aw^ they give tile-furnace.' Dr. Geiger 
is right in his identification of this word with the Mod. 
Persian y/fwf, butytf»« does not mean an earthen vessel, but 
a glass-bowl, a glass. He is of opinion that glass was 
unknown to the early Iranians; nevertheless glass slag must 
have been familiar to the potters and bronze-workers. 
Glazed tiles were made in Mesopotamia long before the 
time of Zarathushtra^ and we have an Egyptian glass bottle 
of the seventeenth century before Christ, showing that the 
art of glass-painting and the use of the grinding-wheel 
were already known. Again we have the celebrated 
picture of the glass-blower on the grave of Beni-Hasan. 
It is a remarkable fact that the Persian word abacaein (Mod. 
Pers. dbginah) was known to the Copts, and that the 
Abha'Sfonexs mentioned under Thothmes III. Although the 
Avesta may be a very old record, yet it is inconceivable 
that such a valuable substance as glass should have been 
unknown to the people it describes." * 

* Vide], I, Sp. 1477: "5. 390 will der Ver/assir jama mti 
*^ ir denes Ge/ass** ubersetzeftj turn Unterschied von Erde^ Lehm 
(zemaini) tm vorhergehenden Sale, Die Pehlewi-ubersetzung gibl 



If we consider the question concerning the identification 
of the word ydma with the Mod. Pers. jdniy the difficulty 
lies probably in the meaning "goblet/* The particular 
rendering ** glass-bowl " is only a secondary development. 
The authority of tradition, as Dr. Justi has justly remarked, 
is uncertain ; however, it is generally admitted that tradition 
has never recognized either zematni or ydma as glass. 
From the glass slag familiar to the potter and the bronze- 
worker to the fashioning of glass vessels is a considerable 
step. As regards the knowledge of glass-making among 
the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, it cannot supply any 
argument as to the acquaintance of the Avesta people with 
that art. 

It will be conceded to me that Dr. Justi's whole argument 
rests on this truths that, if it were possible from the Avesta 
to show that as a fact glass was unknown, the great anti- 
quity of this record together with the isolation of its people 

keinen Au/schlusSt da sie durch einen Irrthum heide Satze durch 
dieselhen Worte wiedergibt ; dock fugt sie tm tweiien Sah eine 
Glosse kinzu, welche man dosin-karan lesen und Gypshereiter {np. 
dos * Gypsbluie ') ubersetzen konn/e, wahrend die Glosse des ersten 
Satzes durikel ist. Die Riivayets hdben fur zemaini np. khum 
{irdenes Gefdss, Ziegelhau\ fur jama aher Ziegelofen. Wenn G, 
selbst das np. ^am vergleichiy so hat er rechty aber jam is/ nicht 
ein gebrannies Ge/ass, sondern ein Glasbecher, ein Glas ; er glaubt^ 
die Alfiranier hiUien das Glas nicht gekanntj und doch mussten 
die Topfer und Erzarbeiter Glasschlacken kennen lernen • glasierte 
Ziegel sind Idngst vor Zarathuschtra in Mesopotamien fdbriwert 
warden^ und man hit eine dgyptische Glasflasche aus dem 17. 
Jahrhunderty an welcher man bereits die kunst des Ueberfangens 
und die Anwendung des Schlei/rades erkennt, wie auch die 
Abbildung der Glasbldser im Grab von Beni'Hasan berUhmt ist. 
Es ist merkwurdigy doss das Koptxsche das persische Wort abacaein 
{np. abginah) kennt und dass unter Thothmes II L der Abhastein 
erwdhnt wird, Es ist undenkbar, dass eine so geschdtxte Ware 
wie das Glas dem Awestavolk unbekannt geblieben ware, selbst 
wenn das Awestd sehr alt ware J* 


and the seclusion of their trade, would be proved beyond 
question. But such a proof can be actually adduced. 

Wherever the Avesta treats of the purification of 
polluted vessels^ it enumerates the materials of which the 
vessels used are made. They are — i, gold; 2, silver; 
3, brass; 4, copper; 5, stone; 6, clay; 7, wood.* Here 
glass is not named. Moreover, it is clear that, 
had there been vessels of glass, they would have been subject 
to cleansing and would have required cleansing just as 
much as vessels of metal, stone, or earthenware. 

We now come to the question respecting the use of 
coined money. 

Again Dr. Jusli differs from me, saying: — "Also in 
consequence of over-estimating the age of several passages 
in the Avesta,^ our author is led to doubt the existence 
of money. Even supposing that shaeta does not mean 
' money,' but only ' possessions, wealth,' yet the 
expression asperena^ which means a dirhenty according to 
the Pahlavi Translation and the Zend-Pahlavi Farhang, 
points to the fact that in Mesopotamia a system of regular 
coinage and weights was not unknown.*' 

* Vd. VII. 73-75. 

* Vide J, I, Sp. 1477: **Auch ein anderes Bedenken ndmlich 
die Exisienz von Geld anzunehmen, ergibi sich dem Ver/asser aus 
der Ueberschdizung des Alters mancher Awestastucke ; wenn auch 
saeta nickl " Geldy' sondern " Besite^ Reichthum " bezeichnety so 
deutet dock der Ausdruck asperena, nach der PehlewiUberseizung 
und dem Zend-Pehlewi Farhang ein Dirhem, darauf hin, dass 
man das in Mesopoiamien ubliche Miinz und Gewichissystem 
kanntey Also in Sp. 1476, Justi speaks generally of "certain" 
parts of the Avesta, the age of which must not be over-rated. 
This statement is not very clear. It would have been better, 
had he indicated by a few words what passages he was referring 
to. According to his remarks it must be assumed that he 
considers a. certain portion of the book to be of a great age, 
since he never speaks of any over-estimation of the age of the 
whole Avesta. 



According to Dr. Justi's representation, it appears that 
I treat the great age of the Avesta as a kind of dogma, and 
on the ground of it reject entirely the possibility of coined 
money having existed in its time. In my '' Civilization of 
the Eastern Iranians/'* I have pursued a diametrically 
opposite course. The basis of my argument is the text 
itself, and I quote three passages from the Avesta, all of 
which, as far as I know, treat of the question of payments, 
and which Dr. Justi never mentions. But in all these 
passages cattle (asses, oxen, horses, camels, sheep) 
are expressly mentioned as the medium of 

These passages occur in the following connections: — 
{a) Where the Avesta speaks of the payment of fees by 
a patient to a doctor. Here it is noteworthy that the very 
smallest fee is to be paid in kind, viz., in bread or milk, 
{Vd. VII. 41-43). 

[b) In treating of the atonement for a broken promise, 
or of the giving of a pledge on settling an agreement (Vd. 
IV. 2 seq.y 

(f) Where reference is made to paying down the 
appointed fees to a priest after the ceremony of purification 
has been performed (Vd. IX. 37-39). 

Is it at all possible for anybody to believe 
seriously that the Magi of the later Achae- 
menian period or even of the Seleucian or 
Parthian epoch, would have consented to 
receive payments in sheep, oxen, or horses? 

On the authority of these three passages, we are, I believe, 
justified in forming an opinion as to money transactions 
among the Avesta people; and thus it only remains to 
explain the terms shaeta and asperena. 

M. Tomaschek is of opinion that shaeta may possibly 

* Ostiranische Kuliufy pp. 396-397 (vol. I. pp. 220-221). 
■ For explanation cf, ibid,, pp. 454-455 ; supra pp. 36-37. 



have designated also coined money, since in the Persian 
language we find the feudal term shait used for a rouble.* 
This hardly seems to me to be a valid argument. The 
etymology of the word shaeta or kkshaeta and its use in 
different passages prove that in the Avesta language the 
word signifies nothing more than "fortune, possessions." 
With shaetUt {t<e,, with cows, sheep, or horses), a deed of 
blood is expiated.* A warlike hero protects his khshaeta^ 
that is, his goods and chattels from thieves and robbers.' 
Ardvi-sura grants prosperity to the shaeta. She multiplies 
the possessions of her adorers.* I will return further on 
to the passage in which sAaeiavat, '* the opulent man," is 
contrasted with the ashaeta^ ** the pauper." 

So in every case shaeta has only a general meaning; 
and, if we hold firmly to the view that the word means 
'* possessions," it becomes quite easy to explain how in 
later times, after coined money had come into use, the 
name shaeta came to be applied to it. A change of 
meaning perfectly analogous is exemplified in the Latin 
word pecunia^ which originally meant simply "the 
possession of cattle," then came to mean "fortune" 
generally, and finally, in spite of its etymological significa- 
tion, strictly denoted " coined money." 

With respect to the meaning of asperena I must express 
myself somewhat more fully, since we here come to a point 
which is of paramount importance in determining the age 
of the Avesta. 

As a matter of course I admit that asperena is used to 
express " value," and that a very trifling one. The word 

* Auslandy 1883, P- 825, (rouble = '86 shilling). 

• Vd. IV. 44. Cf. my 0. K, A. p. 396, note 3, and p. 452, 
n. 2 (vol. I. p. 221, note 2; supra p. 34, n. 2). 

• Yt. XIII. 97. C/. hush'ham-beretem^haetem in Yt. XVIII. I. 

* ShaelO'fradhana occurring side by side with the somewhat 
synonymous expressions vathwo-fradhana and gaeihb-fradhana in 
Yt. V. I ; XIII. 4. 



occurs twice in our text. We first find, in the fourth 
Fargard of the Vendidad (48), the expression asperend- 
mazby "anything that has the value of an asperenUt* in a 
rather obscure context, in connection with the terras 
anumayd-majso, staord-mazo^ and vtrd-mazd. The second 
time it occurs, in the fifth Fargard of the Vendidad (60), 
in a prohibition against the throwing away of a piece 
of old clothing, even if it be only of the value of an 
asperena or of an avachina. Besides, I also admit that 
asperena has the appearance of being a borrowed word 
introduced into the Avesta language and might be traced, 
according to Prof. C. de Harlez, to the Semitic root 
saphar^ or, according to Prof. Hal6vy, to Anrpoy. Dr. Justi 
seems to suggest the Turkish word asper* 

Now what conclusion may we deduce from what has 
been said above? The three passages quoted by me from 
the Avesta — and they are the only ones which directly refeii 
to payments — show clearly that cattle served the Avesta] 
people as a standard of value and as a medium of barter.! 
If then asperena really denotes a coin/ those passages 
should not, on that account, be ignored in explaining the 
text. They retain their value and significance, and we 
must own that we are here face to face with a paradox, 
which it is our task to solve. However, we would not be 
warranted in basing an argument on the expression 
asperena alone^ and therefore assigning a recent date to the 
Avesta ; for, it would be quite surprising that this mode of 
payment in kind should have been preserved as a regular 
practice side by side with payment in current money. It 

^ But it is also possible that the asperena were small rough 
pieces of metal or some other kind of money (rings or the like), 
used in barter to make up differences in value. So it is well 
known that in ancient Rome, when people were still wont to make 
payments in kind, small pieces of copper were for the same 
purpose weighed out and circulated. 


would, likewise, seem strange that the asperena should have 
been the only coin in use, and that we should hear nothing 
as to other coins, viz., Dariks and Drachms. At least there 
is not sufficient ground here to speak of a system of 
coinage, since such a system must necessarily comprise 
various coins of different values. Even if we agree to what 
Dr, Justi believes concerning the word asperena and its 
meaning, yet the passage (48) in the fourth Fargard of the 
Vendidad, most certainly proves that the asperena was 
used only along with cattle, as a standard of value. 
. The inconsistency,- therefore, does not lie in the em- 
ployment of cattle as a medium of payment, but in the 
mention of the asperena in the Avesta. If this word is 
really as modern as it is supposed to be, may we not 
assume that it was perhaps inserted in the text in a 
later revision of the Avesta? The motive is easy to 
understand. In making payments in cattle, the smallest 
measure of value, the sheep, was after all considerably 
high. People, therefore, thought it necessary to introduce 
articles of smaller value, and adopted not only foreign 
coins, but also their foreign names. This may probably 
have happened also in old times. The word asperena^ I 
believe, must therefore be traced to saphar. Thus we 
have in asperena an instance of a civilized custom adopted 
by the Iranians from their Semitic neighbours which was 
almost similar to the old Indian mana} Although this idea, 
which had of course its origin among the Semites, is men- 
tioned in the Rig-veda, it has never occurred to anybody 
to doubt for that very reason the antiquity of the civiliza- 
tion of the Vedic Arians. Moreover, if relations may be 
proved to have existed between the Babylonians and the 
Vedic Indians, it is not to be wondered at if similar 
relations also existed with the Iranians, who had pushed 
their way into the district of Ragha. 

* Comp. Zimmer, Altindisches Lehen, pp. 50-51. 


' Hawever that may be, the term asperena must not at all 
be allowed to interfere with the type of civilization, which 
otherwise appears so conspicuously in the Avesta. , If, in 
this respect, some authors have deduced conclusions of 
too sweeping a kind, it only indicates how dangerous it 
is to rely upon an isolated word, ignoring all undoubted 
passages which afford an unquestionably authentic ex- 

We may also observe that neither of the passages, in 
which the word asperena is found, occurs in a succinct 
context. In both cases, the word or expression might be 
struck out, without in any way affecting the sense of the 
whole. The suspicion of a recent insertion is here much 
more justifiable than in any of the three passages, Vend, 
IV. 2 seq. \ VII. 41 seq, ; and IX. 37 seq. 

I must now discuss another matter which seems to be 
important. Other foreign words have been discovered in 
the Avesta, some of which are supposed to be Aramaic, 
and some of Greek origin. Prof. Hal^vy has been kind 
enough to communicate to me his views on this point, 
explaining briefly the ideas expressed in his paper read 

* Dr. Justi goes too far when he says : " Man darf aher hier 
ein Argument fur die Ab/assung des Vendiddd nicht im Osten 
sondern im Nordwesten Trans erkennen, wo der Verkehr mil 
anderen Volktrn fremde KuUurelemente einfUJirte^ die dem durch 
die WUs/e geirennten Osien erst split zukamen" " But we may 
here find an argument in favour of the theory that the Vendidad 
was composed not in the East but in the North-West of Iran, 
where the early intercourse with foreign nations would have 
introduced foreign elements of civilization, but which could only 
at a later period have reached the East naturally separated by the 
deserts." Now, is it possible to suppose that the word asperena 
is of any weight in determining the home of the Avesta I If the 
word is as modern as Justi indeed assumes, it would at least 
be odd to think that the elements of Semitic civilization had 
pressed forward into Eastern Iran. 


before the Societe de Linguistique^ wherein he refers to the 
following expressions :— 

I. Words of Aramaic origin: Tanura = M'l^Sfl 

Naska = MHOnS 

Gudha = «Tfl 

Gunda = M12^il 

II, Words of Greek origin : Gaesu = yoicrov 

Asperena s= ^(mpop 

Danare = ^»cLpw» 

Khwaza = x^^^ 

Surprising as this list of foreign words may appear, its 
significance diminishes considerably on closer scrutiny. 

In the first place, the word gudha — occurring only once 
in Yasht, XV. 27 — seems to be a proper name in the Avesta. 
Moreover, it belongs apparently to the river district of 
the Rangha, the Jaxartes. Hence it seems unwarrantable 
to assert that this word owes its origin to the Semites. 
Again, some of the manuscripts give the form gaodha, 
instead of gudha^ which could not be derived from b^Tfl- 
I am inclined to trace the etymology of the word to the 
root gudhf ** to hide." * It is most probable that the name 
would then designate a river which loses itself entirely in 
the sand, as occurs very often in Eastern Iran. 

The origin of the word naska is, likewise, not so well 
ascertained as would at first sight appear. Its derivation 
from the Semitic is on the authority of Dr. Spiegel or 
Dr. Haug.^ M. Burnouf, on the contrary, would derive 

^ The Eastern Iranian words guz and gud would then be 
related to the Sanskrit guh, just as vaz and vad to vaA. That the 
modem A was originally a dental, is proved by the Greek x''^* x«'^^®« 
The latter can be traced to its primary form kudh, which 
Fick, too, considers to be identical with guh {Wtb, vol. I. 
p. 30). Moreover, it should be remembered that the word gudhra, 
"hidden," is preserved in the Zend-Pahlavi Glossary (Fick, 
tbidy^, 315). 

* Comp. Fr. Justi, Handbuch der Zend-sprachCf sub voce. 


the word from the root nas^ " to annihilate," or, better 
still, from naz^ " to unite, to sew." In the latter case we 
can compare it in meaning with the Sanskrit word sutra. 
So we have here one hypothesis opposed to another, and 
nobody will assert that the one has greater authority 
than the other.* The same may be said respecting the 
word guiida. Dr. Fr. MUller assigns to it the meaning 
"plenty,'' and identifies it with the Armenian gound. 
Prof. Hal^vy relies on Dr. Miiller's theory. But this 
meaning of '* plenty" does not agree with the context. 
We, therefore, adhere again, as I believe is generally 
done, to the explanation given by Dr. Spiegel \Comm. 
vol. I. p. 102), who compares it to the Modern Persian 
words ghund and ghundah '^massa /artnarta.*' Thus 
with this etymology of gunda, too, we may rest confidently 
within the pale of the Iranian languages. 

The identity of tanura with the Hebrew '1^30 and the ^ 
Arabic tannur, is beyond question. But must we, on the ' 
ground that this word occurs in our text, assign a later 
origin to-the Avesta itself ? Certainly not, on any account. 
It is as difficult to find a satisfactory derivation of the word 
in Semitic as in Iranian. I, therefore, believe that it is a 
word as foreign to the one as to the other stock of languages. 
When we consider that before the progress of the Arian 
and Semitic civilization, a so-called Turanian one had 
developed in Anterior Asia, and that these Turanian tribes 
possessed peculiar skill in the art of working metals, we are 
justified in assuming that the expression tanur, meaning 
originally a " smelting furnace," owed its origin to their 
language and was inherited as a technical term, together 
with the art-of-smehing itself, as well by the Iranians as by 
the Semites. Even granting that tanura can only be 

^ Naska occurs only once in the compound form naskb-frasagh^ 
but in a passage where it is essential to the metre (Ys. IX. 22). 
Thus it can, no doubt, be proved from the original text of the 


explained as a Semitic word, we have still no reason to doubt 
the great antiquity of the Avesta ; for it is not impossible 
that some civilized intercourse may have existed, though in 
no considerable degree, in pre-Median times between 
Mesopotamia and the plateau of Iran. 

We must now turn to the words of Greek origin. Of the 
identity beween &<nrpov and asperena I have spoken already. 
The comparison between khwasha^ox rather I believe khawzha 
or khavaha, and x^vf, is at least very daring. Since, as a 
rule, every foreign word retains its original form, we should 
rather expect khuska. Moreover, an apparent etymology 
for this word is found in the Arian language, and one which, 
I believe, is universally adopted by Zend scholars. In 
Sanskrit khubja means '* crooked." Khavzha^ then, must 
have originally meant "the crooked vessel." That this 
is the correct derivation is proved by the Mod. Persian 
words ku2 and kuzah^ which still mean ''crooked" and at 
the same time mean "can," "jug," or ''bowl."^ 

The vfoxA gaesu has already been very often discussed. 
Let me refer to Dr. Justi's Handbuch as well as to 
M. Schrader's Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte^ 
pp. 327-328. The Greek term yucroi^ is itself a loan-word of 
Celtic origin ; but it cannot, therefore, be shown that, as a 
foreign word, it has again passed from the Greeks to the 
Iranians. It is more probable — and this view is held by no 
less an authority than M. von Hehn ^ — that the word^^f^« 
is originally Iranian ; but at the time of the Celtic migration 
to Asia Minor, it passed from the Iranians to the Celts and 
may have, finally, been introduced into Greece at the time 
of the expedition of Brennus. In support of the priority of 
this Iranian word one might adduce the fact that M. Tomas- 
chek has discovered an equivalent to gaesu in the Sirikuli 
dialect, in the word gisk meaning " club," "cudgel," 

* C/. Spiegel, Commen/ar, vol. I. p. 252 ; Justi, Handbuch, 
sub voce ; VuUers, Lexicon Persico-Latinum^ sub voce kuz, 

• Vide Culturpflanzen und Haus Here, p. 352. 



and that, according to M. Bickell, that word may be akin to 
the Latin veru.^ By no means^ then, does it bear the charac- 
ter of a foreign word ; on the contrary, it seems to have 
belonged to the old Iranian language from remote antiquity. 

The assumption that the Avesta word danare isapara- 
phrase of hi\vapi,Qv and denarius^ may also be questioned. 
The very form of the word might rouse suspicion, when 
we consider that in Modern Persian the last word appears 
as dinar which, I believe, was originally dxnndr. We 
would expect dxnara or daendra, rather than danare. But 
the Denar is nevertheless a coin, and, as far as I can 
gather from Dr. Vullers, the Mod. Persian word dinar is 
also used only in this sense. As a measure of weight it 
never occurs, as is the case with Dirhem. In the Avesta, 
however, danare must designate a dry measure, or perhaps 
also a weight; and it is only once mentioned in the 
Vendidad, XVI. 7. In this passage we find the rule laid 
down that a menstruating woman shall receive (daily) 
dva danare tdyuininam aeva danare khshdudranam as food. 
Dr. Spiegel has latterly noticed {Comm, vol, I. p. 363) the 
similarity between danare Sind ^rfvdpiov, but he, at one time at 
least, rejected it. He reminds us of the fact that this word is 
naturally allied to ddna, " corn," *' wheat," and equivalent 
to the Sanskrit dhdna, Mod. Pers. danah. 

Thus we observe that in all cases, where a Greek or 
Aramaic derivation is assigned to any word, the result is 
hypothesis opposed to hypothesis. In some instances 
weighty objections may be raised against the assumption of 
such derivations. This I must here regard as the principal 
question. Granted that it were possible to establish an 
indubitable etymology, still it would constitute no -proof 
against the great age of the Avesta as a whole. Since our 
record has frequently undergone revisions, all we can do 

* Tomaschek, Pamirdialekie, p. 66 ; Bickell, Kuhn's Zeiischri/i, 
vol. XII. pp. 438 seq, 



is to draw a special conclusion as to the age of 
the isolated passages in question. I have 
already suggested this occasionally in discussing the 
question concerning the vrotd asperena 2iS well as under my 
fourth preliminary remark ; and it is surely of peculiar 
importance wTien the words concerned are 5«-a{ \€y6fjLeva^ as 
is the case, e.g., with gudka, gunda, khwazha, and naska. 
But, even if these words denote measure or weight, we must 
not ignore the possibility of their having been intentionally 
altered and adapted to the later conditions of things. I 
repeat, then, that we ought to be careful not to draw elaborate 
conclusions as to the history of Iranian civilization from 
isolated words or passages alone ; but we should always see 
that they do not disagree with other passages in the text. 

Now, as regards our last point, that iron was unknown 
to the early Iranians. So far as I know, none of the 
scholars who doubt the antiquity of the 
Avesta, have touched upon this subject. 
None of them seem to have considered how close an affinity 
it indicates between the civilization of the Avesta and that 
of the Rig-veda, between the civilization of the Eastern 
Iranians and that of the Indians of the Panjab. And yet 
the importance of the subject must be evident to all. 

The word employed in the Avesta for the metal most 
commonly in use is ayaghy corresponding to the Old Indian 
ayas, to the Latin aes, and to the Gothic aia. Dr. Zimmer 
has proved in his Altindisches Leben (pp. 51 seq.)j that 
the Vedic ayas denotes "brass," i>., copper-brass, 
bronze; and, as I believe I have already proved/ 
the corresponding word in the Avesta must have 
had the same meaning. This is quite apparent from 
the appellations in which aydgk is used, and which 
are strikingly in accord with the Homeric epithets applied 

* Vide Osiiranische KuUur^ p. 148 : — " The mountain-ranges 
lying in Central Asia are rich in iron mines, which, according 


J 39 

to xa^f<5^* Names of metals are constantly alluded to in the 
Avesta, but among them all none, except ayagh^ could 
possibly be taken to mean iron. The workingof this metal, 
therefore, was unknown to the Arians of the Avesta. 
But, is it possible for anybody to maintain that in the 
latest centuries before Christ the Iranians 
used as weapo&s^ swords, helmets, clubs, 
and arrow-heads made of broaze?* 


Let me now recapitulate the reasons which seem to 
me to prove the great antiquity of the Avesta. It must 
be conceded that these are only special arguments, based 
on isolated passages. But then these are not such 
passages as do not at the same time form an integral 
portion of the whole text, and such as might possibly 
be considered to be a gloss. The majority of my 
arguments are based upon the Avesta as a whole, and I 
do not think that the etymology of an isolated word can 
ever afford sufficient evidence, from which to draw 
conclusions as to the history of the civilization of a people. 
I. The Avesta does not contain any his- 
torical description whatever. | 

to the testimony of the Avesta, existed, likewise, within the Hara. 
From the fact that the metal called ayagh in the Avesta, was irr 
use for making weapons and chattels, we are not to conclude 
that here iron alone was meant; rather copper-brass or bronze, 
which is an alloy of copper and zinc, is referred to. That 
epithets such as 'brilliant' or 'yellow,' 'flame-coloured,' nay 
even ' golden,' would ever have* been applied to iron or steel, 
is, indeed, scarcely possible; on the contrary, these appellations 
are quite appropriate in the case of bronze. Likewise, the 
corresponding word ayas in the Rig-veda does not denote iron, 
but copper-brass, which was far more in use among the Vedic 
Arians. Copper was also in favour with the Achaians of the 
Homeric period. Their weapons and vessels were also made of 
brass which is described, just as in the Avesta, as red and glittering.*' 
* Cf, suprat pp. 24 seq. 





2. None of the names of tribes, other- 
wise in general use, are to be 
found in it. 

3. It contains no allusion to any of the \ 
cities of Eastern or Western Iran, 
celebrated in historic times pro- 
perly so called, with the excep- 
tion of R agha • 

4. The economical conditions of the 
Avesta people are those of a pas- 
toral tribe and of a rural popula- 
tion; and even the priests shared 
in agricultural pursuits. That 
such conditions were most highly 
characteristic of the entire civi- 
lized life of the Old Iranian, may 

\ be gathered from the general 

! tenor of the Avesta, especially 

from that of the Gathas, and more 
{ particularly from the nature of 

the calendar, 

5. The primitive character of the 
\ Avestapeople is evidentfromtheir 

ignorance of the use of {a) salt, 

(d) glass, {c} coined money, and 

(d) iron. 

Finally, I must now notice some other arguments, from 

which it might perhaps be inferred that the Avesta was 

composed in a late period. Of these, the most noteworthy 

have been adduced by Prof. C. de Harlez in his excellent 

" Introduction" to the second edition of his translation of 

the Avesta (H. i, pp. cxcii. sef, ; cf, H. 4, pp. 494-495) : ' 

' This book is unfortunately very little known in Germany. 
In size and contents, it forms a work by itself, an encyclopaedia 
of the Avesta. I only regret that I did not make use of it while 
writing my Osiiranische Kultur. 



I. The modern forms of the names of places mentioned 
in the first Fargard of the Vendidad. Here we find Bdkhdkt 
for Bakhtri ; Mouru for Marghu. Prof. Harlez also 
refers to Bawri for Babiru and Raji for Ragha. As 
regards the last two, Bawri need not be taken into account^ 
for, being a name, it is quite possible that it may have 
been incorrectly written. ' Rajoit occurs only in Yasna, XIX. 
18. Since, without exception, we meet with the regular 
form Ragha in other passages, and since even in the passage 
quoted it immediately follows Rajdii, I believe I am right 
in conjecturing that this form is an appellative, possibly 
meaning " kingdom, dominion" ; otherwise, its spelling 
should be altered. 

However, an argument based on the modern character 
of forms of geographical names occurring in the A vesta, 
is not very cogent. In its general aspect the Avesta, as few 
have it, does not seem to be the work originally written by 
some of the first Zoroastrians, but a transcript bearing very 
plain traces of revision. What, therefore, is more probable 
than that, in such a revision, the geographical names in the 
original should have been adapted to the forms of those 
names then current ? ^ 

Even Dr. Spiegel says : '* I have often had occasion to 
remark that I attach no importance to any linguistic proofs ; 
for, even granting that we can prove that its language is 
primeval, one might nevertheless endeavour to find an 
expedient and must assume that the book was written 

* Hal6vy informs me through a letter that Bawri might 
correspond to the Aramaic ^'^SS- In that case this word, like 

Mouru, must be regarded as an adaptation of the old to the 
modem form of the name due to a later revision of the Avesta. 

• Bakhdhi, at least, must be regarded as a corrupt form, since 
there was no period in the history of Iranian languages, when 
the r could have dropped out of the name Baktra, Even to the 
present day the city is called Balkh. 



after the language had ceased to be used^ since internal 
evidence obliges us to ascribe to the book a comparatively 
later date."* We may certainly say with equal justice : since 
the internal evidence of the Avesta is in favour of its high 
antiquity, while the language often exhibits some modern 
forms, we must assume a revision of the Avesta after its 
language had ceased to be spoken. 

IL In the fourth Fargard of the Vendidad (47 seg.) 
abstemiousness, homelessness, celibacy, and prohibition 
against eating flesh are inveighed against. This passage 
must have been directed against the gradual encroachments 
of Buddhism, the representative of which is the Gautama 
mentioned in Yasht, XIII. 16. 

Now, let me request Zend scholars to examine the 
passage which bears upon this question. Nobody will 
assert that we can with certainty regard it as a polemic 
against Buddhism. We could at best, and with all due 
reservation^ consider this view as a mere 
conjecture, on the basis of which it would 
be quite dangerous to form any conclusion 
as to the history of Iranian civilization. 

The text runs thus : — 

Adhacha • uiti* nairivait^ • zt- 1^ • ahmat pourum • fram- 
raoimi . Spitama - Zaratkushtra • yatha • maghavo-fra- 
vakhshdii, visdne • ahmat • yatha • evisdi, puthran^ • ahmat • 
yatha • aputhrdi^shaetavatb • ahmat -yatha • ashaetai, hducha • 
ayd • nard • vohu • mano - jdgereiushtaro • aghat • yd • geush • 
uruthware • hdmpafrditl • yatha • hdu • yo • ndit • it ha, 

* ^* Ich hahe ofter Gelegenhei'i gehaht zu bemerken, doss ich 
auf den sprachlichen Beweis nichts gehe; denn geseizt auch, es 
liesse sich nachweiien, doss die Sprache uralt sei, so wurde man 
dock nach einem Auskun/ismiiiel suchen undeiwa annehmen mussen, 
das Awes id sei nach dem A ussier hen der Sprache geschriehen^ falls 
innere Grilnde uns noiigen^ das Buck einer spdteren Periode 


Prof. Harlez himself translates it: — * 

" Je proclame pour tot qui a une epouse^ 6 saint 
Zaroastre^ la priorite sur celui qui n'en use point; pour 
le chef de maison, sur celui qui n* en possede point ; pour le 
pere de families sur celui qui n'apas d'enfants ; pour le 
possesseur de terres sur celui qui tCen a points Celui qui 
nourrit et developpe {son corps) en mangeant de la viande, 
obtient le bon esprit bien mieux que celui qui ne le fait pas." 

First let me remark that the whole passage, and espe- 
cially the connection with what follows, is obscure. Prof. 
Harlez has certainly translated the concluding portion of 
the passage incorrectly. According to his opinion, ^^2^sh 
ought to be considered as instrumental ; however, it is not 
possible. It could often be rendered '* he who fills the body 
of the cattle," i>., whoever feeds them.^ This passage, 
therefore, implies a meaning common in the Avesta, viz., that 
cattle-breeding is a meritorious work. And such is the 
clear interpretation of the passage:—'* Such aman possesses 
more of the good-mind {vohwmano) than one who does 
not do it ." Vohu-mano, the genius of the good-mind, 
is, according to the Zoroastrian teaching, also the protector 
of herds. 

Again, the beginning of the passage, which contains the 
antithesis, ndirivat and maghavo-fravakhshi, is not quite 

* \Avesta traduity 2nd ed. p. 48 : "I proclaim for you who 
have a spouse, O holy Zoroaster ! the priority over him who has 
none; for the head of a household, over him who possesses 
none ; for the paterfamilias^ over him who has no offspring ; 
for the owner of land, over him who owns no piece of ground. 
He who nourishes and develops (his body) by eating meat, 
acquires the good mind, far better than he who does it not." 
(Vd. IV. 47-48). Tr. «.] 

• Uruthware translated " body, stomach." If, according to 
Harlez, this word signifies "growth," the passage implies: 
" Whoever furthers the growth of cattle." Thus the meaning is 
not changed. Here Geldner agrees with me [Vide Studien 
zum Avesta, p. 5). 


clear. At all events this much seems to be manifest, that 
the man, who lives in lawful marriage, should be preferred 
to any one who satisfies his desires in other ways. 
According to the whole tenor of the Avesta, it cannot seem 
strange that a man who lives in a village community, who 
brings up children^ makes for himself a household and 
becomes the possessor of fields and herds, is more deserving 
in the eyes of a Zoroastrian than one who fails to do so. 
Let us only bear in mind how the possession of children is 
always looked upon as a direct blessing of God,^ and 
compare therewith what I have already said with reference 
to the meritoriousness of a settled country-life according to 
the testimony of the Avesta. 

What conclusion, then, must we draw from Vendidad, IV. 
47-48, without doing violence to its meaning? Simply 
this, that the Avesta frequently alludes to the contrast 
between civilized and uncivilized life, especially between 
the life of settled herdsmen and peasants and that of 
nomads. That this is the correct interpretation is em- 
phatically shown by the use of the antonymous words 
visdne and einsdt. The peasant and the herdsman live in 
permanent villages (2/t^o), the nomad on the contrary 
knows no settled life. 

Moreover, as regards Gaotama^ who is supposed to be 
the representative of Buddhism, which forced its way into 
Iran, the name only occurs once in Yt. XIII. 16. Prof. 
Westergaard, however, reads gaotema^ and gives also the 
vsivisint gao^uma in two other MSS., but never ^^^/j/w^.* 
This is important, since Prof. Harlez expressly says: — 
La forme gaotama est le produit d*une transcription faite 
a Vouie et non d'une derivation naturelle. Thus gaotama 
might certainly be regarded as a simple misspelling of 

* Cf. my O. K, A, pp. 234-236 (vol. I. pp. 53-54)' 
' [*' The form Gaotama is due to a transcription based on sound 
and not to any indigenous derivation," 7r.] 


the Indian name^ Gaotama Buddha; but Gaotema is purely 

To this it is to be added that the passage cited above is 
obscure. Prof. C. de Harlez himself observes {Avesta 
Traduttt 2nd ed. p. 481 ) : ^^ phrase entterement obscure.*' 
Again, the translations of the passage do' not at all 
agree. Passing over Dr. Spiegel's, I shall quote here Prof. 
Geldner's version [Metrik des jiingeren Avesta^ pp. 80-81): 
''Through their power and greatness a man is born 
skilled in counsel, an adviser, whose words are heard with 
willingness, who is looked to for instruction, who hears com- 
placently the request of his weaker proteges." 

But, if, in spite of the ^* phrase entiirement obscure** 
we were to regard Prof. Harlez's translation : ** Uhom^ 
me naUt intelligentj manifestant ses pens&es^ entendant 
bien ce que Von dity en qui est deposee P intelligence y qui 
ichappe aux questions de tnechant Gaotama^** * as correct, 
what could we reasonably gather from the passage ? This 
certainly, that the Fravasis will allow one to be born, who 
is to be a match for a certain Gautema in argument. Now, 
if we consider that learned controversies were evidently not 
unknown to the Avesta priests — for instance in the legend 
of Ydsta Frydna and his dispute with Akhtya in Yt. V. 83 ; — 
if we, again, consider that the name gaotema is purely 
Iranian and can be clearly traced to the remotest Arian 
period^ since the Rig-veda, too, speaks of a singer gotama^ 
the passage is divested of all possible reference to 

III. In Yt. XIX. 18, Ragha is called a city, in which the 
Athravans were possessed of temporal power. But such 

* As far as I know, it was Haug who first started the theory that 
Yasht, XIII. 16 contained an allusion to Buddhism {ff, "Essays 
on the Parsis," 2nd ed. by West, p. 208, note). 

• [" The man is born intelligent, manifesting his thoughts, well 
understanding what is said, in whom is placed the intelligence 
that solves the questions put by the perverse Gaotama." TV.] 

VOL. H. T 


a sovereignty of the Magi existed in Iran only after the 
close of the dominion of the Seleucidae. Consequently, 
this passage must have been written only at that 

This brings us to a very important question. There is 
no doubt that even Dr. Spiegel (Sp. i, pp. 9-10, Sp. 2, 
pp. 629-635), has, on the authority of this passage, formed 
a peculiar theory concerning the home as well as the age 
of the Avesta, the only ground for which lies in the fact 
that the passage has been variously interpreted so as to 
lose its original meaning. 

I must here consider Prof. Harlez's Introduction, which 
thoroughly explains the relation of the Avesta Athravans 
to the Magi known to us from history. 

This learned translator of the Avesta maintains, in the 
first place, that the Achaemenian kings were not familiar 
with the Avesta religion. On the contrary, all that wc 
know about the Magi allows us to assert that their doctrines 
and their customs were perfectly identical with those which 
we find recorded in the Avesta. To this must also be 
added that Khosru Parviz (S31-S79 A.D.) in a proclamation 
given in the Dinkard, says: — ^* que Vhhtaspafit reunir tous 
les ouvrages ecrits en la langue des Mages pour acquerir 
la connatssance de la lot magdiene^ ^ Since it seems hardly 
possible that a country of so little importance as Bactriana 
should have gfiven to the West a sacred language and 
religion, Prof. C. de Harlez concludes: ^^ La solution la plus 
simple et la plus naturelle serait d^ attribuer V Avesta aux 
Mages et h la Medie.^ (H. i, p. xlvi.) 

The assertion that Bactriana vf^s ^^ toujours soumise et 

* [" That Vishtaspa caused all the works written in the language 
of the Magi to be collected in order to acquire the knowledge of 
the Mazdian law." TV.] 

■ [" The solution would be the simplest and most natural if we 
should ascribe the Avesta to the Magi and to Media." TrJ] 



pen important^^ * can hardly be correct. The large 
revenue obtained from this province in the time of the 
Achaemenian kings, proves at least that it was highly 
prosperous.' That its population formed no inconsiderable 
part, but rather the main portion, of the Iranian people, is 
most clearly proved by the energetic opposition offered to 
Alexander the Great precisely in the North-Eastern pro- 
vinces of the Persian empire. Moreover, I must here 
repeat that, in determining the home of the Avesta religion 
generally, the question is not one respecting Bactria alone 
but the whole of Eastern Iran. 

Again, we cannot attach much value to the statement 
that Khosru Parviz characterizes the Avesta language as 

* " Always subject to a foreign ruler, and of little importance." 

• [Duncker, Geschichie des AUerihumSy vol. IV. ch. 5, pp. 18-19. 
Vide Eng. ed. bk. VII. ch. II. pp. 23-24 : " The nations and 

condition of Eastern Iran can be ascertained more clearly from 
the inscriptions of Darius. According to his inscription at 
T^histi^p , his empire in that direction comprised the Parthia ns. 
S arangians, Areians, Chorasmians, Bactrians, Sogdia ni,_Gandarii , 
S attagydae. Arachoti* and Sacae ; and to these the Idh us. i>., the 
Indians on the right bank of the upper course of the Indus, are 
added in the inscriptions of Persepolis and Naksh-i-Rustam. 
Further information is preserved by Herodotus with respect to the 
tribute imposed by Darius on these nations. As these statements 
are undoubtedly derived from Persian tribute-lists, they serve to throw 
a side-light on the state of civilization existing in the East of Iran 

at the division of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C 

The Bactrians, the twelfth satrapy of the empire, paid (yearly) 360 
(Babylonian) talents into the treasury of the king. These sums, 
which do not include the whole of the burdens of the provinces, 
but are only the land-taxes which they had to pay — in addition 
tolls were levied and contributions in kind to the court of the 
king and the satraps, as well as for the maintenance of the army 
— show that at the time of Darius agriculture and wealth had 
proceeded far beyond the earliest stages in the eastern districts 
of Iran. The Babylonian silver talent amounted to more than 
3,000 thalers (6,000 shillings).'' TV. nJ] 


the language of the Magi. There is no doubt that under 
the Sassanidae the Magi were the representatives of the 
Zoroastrian priesthood ; but by this time the Avesta language 
had long been dead and had been succeeded in general 
use by the Middle Iranian. If, then, the Magi alone still 
understood this language, if they used it in their daily 
ceremonies, prayers, and recitations, and if it completely 
swayed the cult upheld by the Magi, it might well be 
called, for the sake of convenience, the '^language of the 
Magi." Consequently, it is characterized as the language 
of a single order, not as that of a nation, just as Latin in 
the Middle Ages might be called the language of literati 
or Modern French the language of diplomacy. 

Moreover, I generally accept the view of Prof. Harlez : 
The Achaemenian kings, and for the most part the Persian 
nation itself, did not profess the Zoroastrian religion. It 
is represented in historical times by the Median Magi, 
through whose influence it strove to gain ground among 
the majority of the Persians under the sovereignty 
of the Achaemenidae. But hence it has been inferred only 
of late, that the Magi composed the Avesta known to us, 
and that Zarathushtra himself was a Magus. This is only 
one of three possibilities. Besides this there are two 
other credible suppositions: — {a) The Magi adopted the 
doctrine of the Zoroastrian priests, thus representing a 
later phase in the development of the Avesta religion. 
{b) The Zoroastrian priests are the heirs of the Magi. 

The last possibility we may briefly dismiss. We can 
trace the history of the Magi down to the Sassanian 
period. But nowhere do we find any reference to a 
belief that they had delegated their peculiar office to 
another religious corporation, which revered the Zoroas- 
trian doctrine and perhaps only transferred the scene of 
their labours to a different field. 

A.S regards Prof. Harlez*s theory that the Avesta was 
composed by the Magi and in Media, a very important 



fact seems to contradict it. The Avesta priests are not 
strictly called Maghu but Athravans* In all passages 
where the priests are mentioned, they invariably bear this 
name; and such passages are not few in number. Their 
testimony would lead us to infer that '' Aihravan,** and in 
fact this title exclusively, served as the official designation 
of the priesthood. Why then should the Magi in their 
own writings have given to themselves any other name 
than that by which they were universally known to the 
world ? 

Now, in a passage in the Avesta (Ys. LXV. 6) there, 
indeed, occurs the expression moghu-tbish and this must be 
taken into consideration.* But what does it prove? At 
the very most, only this, that, at the time when this 
passage was composed, the term Maghu was not unknown 
and perhaps was almost synonymous with Athravan. The 
fact that Aihravan was the real title of the Avesta 
priesthood, is not in the least affected by the use of the 
term Maghu. Had the Magi really been the authors of the 
Avesta, their own title, instead of appearing only in a 
single isolated passage, and that the least important, would 
have been used throughout the work. 

Moreover, it seems quite possible that, in the passage 
referred to, Maghu bears a purely generic meaning. If we 
compare it with the Sanskrit maghavan, the word can be 
translated " protector, or feudal lord, prince, nobleman.'' 
Moghu'tbisYi occurs especially in Ys. LXV. 6, side by side 
viith hasYid'ibtsYij varesdnd-tbish, na/jyo-tbish, "the hatred 
of friends, free commoners or countrymen, and of relations." 
These expressions are all generic terms, and we must of 
course admit that the context does not compel us to adopt 

* Q^. H. 2, p. 171 ; also my 0. K. A. pp. 489-492, (vide supra 
pp. 80-84). It will be observed that I have altered the views 
expressed in my Ostiranische Kultury since I have there attempted 
to adopt a middle course. 



the rendering of " priest" for Maghu^ which is possible, 
though not always exclusively appropriate. 

But we may ask, which of the two designations Maghu 
or Atharvan {Athravan) seems to be the older one ? 
Atharvan admits of a direct connection with the Vedic 
civilization. In the Rig-veda, too, we find the yfox^ Atharvan 
used to mean '' a fire-priest," as well as the name of a 
mythical character, the Prometheus of the Indians, who 
brings down fire from heaven, and is thus the prototype 
of all fire-priests on earth.* The title Atharvan may, 
consequently, be traced to the remote Arian period ; 
at the same time we can only discover Indian words, 
indeed analogous to Maghu, but not quite identical 
with it. 

Thus all evidence goes to show that Atharvan was the 
oldest and most original title of the Zoroastrian priest- 
hood. Gradually, as the centre of gravity of the Iranian 
nation moved from East to West, as the Indian tribe of the 
Magi assumed the direction of religious matters, its name, 
which had an ethnographical significance at first, became 
at the same time the title of the priesthood formed by 
that tribe. 

The Avesta, therefore, does not recognize the term 
Maghu as the title of the Zoroastrian priests ; it never 
designates them by any other name than that of Athra* 
vans. On this point, even at. the present day, a futile 
attempt is made to urge another passage from our text 
in support of the Median and Magian origin of the 

^ Comp. my Ostirantsche Kultur, pp. 464-465, (xtf^ra pp. 48-49), 
It cannot, however, be proved that the title A/hravan is strictly 
meant by the name irvpaitoi by which, according to Strabo (p. 733, 
where also the Cappadocians are specially mentioned), the Magi 
are supposed to have called themselves. Nevertheless, it does 
not do away with the fact that Maghu is unknown to the Avesta 
as the title of its priesthood (H. 2, p. 171). 



Avesta. This much-disputed passage (Ys. XIX. i8) runs as 

follows' :— 

*' Who are the chiefs ? The master of the house, the 
lord of the village, the president of the tribe, 
the country-prince, the fifth is the Zarathushtra. 
(So it is) excepting the Zarathushtrian Ragha, 
Who are (here) the chiefs? The master of the 
house, the lord of the village, the president of the 
tribe, the fourth is the Zarathushtra,*^ 

What we may safely infer from the above passage is, that, 
at the time it was written, a kind of Zoroastrian 
papacy existed in Iran. To the High* 
priest was then assigned a rank higher 
than that of the country-princes. In 
Ragha he evidently possessed temporal 
as well as spiritual dignity. The High- 
priest of Ragha was at the same time 
its pr i nee . 

In the first place, however, it may be observed that the 
passage contains no personal reference to Zarathushtra; 
accordingly, it cannot serve as an argument in support of 
the theory that the Avesta was composed by the Medes. 
Apparently, Zarathushtra here is not a proper name but a 
generic term ; it is the title of the head of the Zoroastrian 
priesthood. In the Pahlavi translation of the Avesta we 
find Zaratushttum^ '* the highest Zarathushtra." 

Secondly, we must not bring the contents of the passage 
in Yasna, XIX. i8, to bear on the whole period of the 
civilization of the Avesta people. Moreover, there are 

^ Spiegel has discussed this passage in his Eranische 
Alter thumskunde^ vol. III. p. 563; also Sp. I, pp. 9- 10; Sp. 2, 
pp. 630-632. But, I believe, he is wrong, when, in connection with 
this passage, he quotes the epithet ihrizahtu^ which Ragha 
receives in Vd. I. 16. Zantu cannot possibly mean ** order." It 
means always " tribe, race," and thrhantu must imply that three 
Irinian tribes had settled in the district {danhu) of Ragha. 



many other passages' besides this^ which enumerate the 
different lords, but in none of them is the Zarathushtrdtema 
directly metioned.* The superiority of the priesthood over 
the two other orders of warriors and farmers appears so 
very conspicuously throughout the Avesta, and sq much 
attention is drawn to it by its author, that it is hardly 
possible he could have failed to emphasize the rank of the 
high-priest of Ragha beyond that of the tribal chiefs and 
the country-princes. 

But it is quite unwarrantable to identify the temporal 
power of Zarathushtra in Ragha with the dignity of the 
Grand Magus in Rai, (Sp. 2, pp. 629-630). Such a theory 
fails in the most important point of our argument; the Avesta 
speaks only of the £thravans and not of the Magi. It calls 
the high-priest of Ragha, Zarathushtra or Zarathush" 
trotema, a title which is never given to the Masmaghdns, 
To this it must be added that the only authorities for the 
dignity of the Grand Magus in Rai, are Alberiini and 
Yaqut, and that the period in which it originated cannot, 
therefore, be ascertained. In determining the age of the 
Avesta, the reference to the Masmaghdn must, in any case, 
prove of little value. For, if the Magi were the heirs and 
successors of the Zoroastrian Xthravans, — a fact which must 
at least be generally admitted as p o s s i b 1 e — the 
Masmaghdn to a certain extent would be a later 
development of the Zarathushtrotema whose dignity might 
then be traced probably to the pre-historic epoch. 

But I believe that we are not justified in laying too much 
stress on the passage, Ys. XIX. 18. We must not suppose 

' C/. Yt. X. 18, 83 ; Vd. X. 5 ; Vsp. III. 2, &c. 

■ Gah, IV. 6-'/, Here we meet with the following expressions 
in invocations and hymns of praise : — Zarathushtrotema^ zara- 
thushtra, dihravan^ rathaeshiar, vastrya-fshuyds^ nmdno-paitt\ 
vUpaiti, zahtU'paiti\ danhu paitL From this we should gather 

that Zarathushtra as well as Zarathushtrotema was a priestly 


that during the greatest part of the Avesta epoch there 
existed any such half-spiritual, half-temporal power in 
Ragha. Who knows when this isolated passage was 
composed and when it was introduced into the text? Had 
Ragha really played so important a part in the Zoroastrian 
commonwealth, it is strange that this city is named only in 
two passages in the whole Avesta, viz., (i) in the passage 
cited above, and (2) in the list of countries enumerated in the 
Vendidad. Haitumat is mentioned three times; Haraiva 
and Moru twice ; whilst such places as Aryana-vaija^ 
the Hara-bersattf the Ardvi-sura^ and also the Rangha^ 
are frequently mentioned. Surely nobody will be inclined 
to assert that in the Avesta opportunities could not have 
offered themselves for mentioning Ragha and the high- 
priest residing in tt.* 

IV. The Avesta commends next-of-kin marriage as a 
meritorious institution. But this practice, according to 
Herodotus, III. 34, was only introduced by Cambyses. The 
Avesta, therefore, cannot have been composed until after 

I believe that we should not press too far this assertion of 
Herodotus, which has the air of an anecdote. It is of course 
improbable that such an institution could have been intro- 
duced, in an age of relatively high civilization, by the mere 
edict of a single individual, and even obtain recognition as 
a moral law. How could the Median Magi have reconciled 
themselves to the thought of- adopting such an innovation, 
in opposition to their usual practice, at the time when, 
as Prof. Harlez assumes, they were opposed to the 

* Other passages of the Avesta have been pointed out {cf. 
0,K,A, pp. 489-490 ; vide above pp. 81-82) from which we can infer 
that the Athravans " came from afar " and led a wandering life. 
This may be true even of several districts, and of certain portions 
of the Zoroastrian priesthood ; but it does not follow hence that the 
Athravans were identical with the Magi and had emigrated from 
West to East. 

VOL. H. U 


Persians? It is, however, far more probable that they 
would have used such an innovation as a ground of opposition 
to the king. The statement of Herodotus has, apparently, 
no other object than to give an explanation of some kind 
or other for an existing custom naturally unfamiliar to 
him. It certainly has no historical value. Moreover, it 
must be added that Herodotus expressly says : — OvUifiug yap 

€&b€<rav irpdrcpov r^ci adcXt^c^o-i <njvoi\t€i,¥ TLipirai* At the most 

we can only consider the innovation of Cambyses as 
affecting the Persians, a fact which cannot in the least 
influence the question whether the Median Magi had 
already in olden times recognized and approved of the 
marriage of relations. 

I can dispose with equal ease of the next objection 
set forth by Prof. Harlez. 

V. The fifth Yasht could not have been written before 
the introduction of the cult of the ^«fl/V/by Artaxerxes 
Mnemon. The description which comprehends the outward 
figure and garments of that yazata in the Yasht, seems 
to be exactly that of a statue of Ana'iti. 

This conclusion is evidently erroneous. Granted that 
Artaxerxes II. (404-361) had actually introduced the cult of 
the Anaiti, his action could have reference to Persia 
alone. Again, the Median Magi, who, according to Prof. 
Harlez, endeavoured during the sovereignty of the Achae- 
menidae to propagate their religion over the whole of Iran, 
might have worshipped their Anahita many centuries before. 
But, as far as I know, it is nowhere asserted that Artaxerxes 
II. first instituted this cult. Berosus alone relates that 
Artaxerxes II. was the first to set up images of the Aphrodite 
Anaiti in different towns, and that before this the divine 
beings were never represented in Iran in any shape 
whatever.^ Thus we have here only a question of the 

* Clemens Alex. Admonit, Adv, Gentes, Comp. Spiegel, 
Eranische Al/er/humskunde, vol. II. p. 56, note i. 


erection of statues and especially of that of Aphrodite 
Ana'iti, that is, of a female deity in whose worship the old 
Iranian conceptions were blended with Semitic ideas. 

Then, as regards the description of Anahita given in the 
fifth Yasht (par. 126-129), ^^ *s more probable that the 
later images of Anahita were adapted to such frequent 
delineations, than the reverse. Every image must, however, 
first exist in the mind before it can receive material 
expression. Again, Prof. Harlez's theory is not justified 
by the opening words yd hishtaiti *' which stands in a 
certain place." This is sufficiently manifest from the 
glowing character and internal evidence of the whole 
description, which is an effort to describe in life-like terms 
the form of that yazata, 

VI. I have already spoken briefly of the linguistic 
evidence adduced by Prof. Harlez in the sixth passage. 
Dr. Spiegel, too, admits that we are not justified in laying 
any stress upon it. We should also reject it on the ground 
that the Avesta, as we have it, cannot be supposed to be 
exactly in its original condition. And, in fact, this is con- 
firmed not merely by the Zend Grammar in which many 
forms adapted from modern dialects may be often observed, 
but also by the mere form and spelling of the words.* 

VII. The persecutions alluded to in the Gathas refer to 
the persecutions of the Magi by king Darius. 

This view is opposed by the whole tone and tenour of 
the Gathas. Prof. Harlez has overlooked the fact that 
the opposition here described does not merely imply the 
conflict between two different religious factions or sects, 

^ In this respect the circumstance that the Avesta, as it seems 
to be assumed generally, was originally written in a different and 
ambiguous alphabet, similar to the Pahlavi, must have had a 
peculiarly injurious effect on the form of the text. We may 
thus account for the vagueness in the nature and constitution of 
the vowels, for the different ways of writing the guna forms, and 
the interchange of long and short vowels, &c. 


but at the same time that between two different epochs 
of the economic history of the Avesta people. On the 
dispute between Darius and the Magi hinged, however, 
the question of legal power and not that of economical 
grievances. Let us only read the twenty-ninth chapter 
of the Yasna. In fact, I do not understand how the cow 
can become the representative of the Magi and pray for 
them to Ahura Mazda for their deliverance from the 
oppressions of Darius. Nor can I conceive how the 
appearance of Zarathushtra could be the promised help 
they had in view. That would be true, however, for the 
Magi of the Achaemenian period tempi passati. More- 
over, all this is easily explained on the supposition that 
the hymn in question relates to the herdsmen and 
agriculturists of Eastern Iran, who were oppressed by the 
nomads of the steppes, and was composed in the age of 
Zarathushtra.* The Prophet may have been honoured as 
the principal defender of the menaced peasantry or 

How can we account for the absence of all historical 
references in theGathas which allude to so many incidents 
of real life? Are we to suppose that the author must have 
taken special care to avoid every hint which might 
enlighten the reader or the hearer as to what is particularly 
referred to ? The names of opponents, however, could not 

* I cannot at all conceive why Zarathushtra should not be 
regarded as a historical personage; historical, of course, in the 
sense in which Lycurgus is historical. Much less can I believe 
in a "mythological" connection with the Rig-veda, which Dr. 
Spiegel believes he has established by deriving the name Spitama 
from the root spit^ and by identifying it with the Vedic <pitra. 
But all this proves only an etymological affinity, as well as the 
use of the root (^vit by Indians and Iranians in the formation of 
proper names ; but certainly nothing more. The name Spitama 
can be traced historically in Iran. Let us only consider the name 
Spitamenes, and we are reminded of the fact that he was an 
Eastern Iranian ! Q^, Sp. i, pp. 8-9. 



have been omitted, nor the honourable mention of the 
most faithful of the Magi. But the reverse is the case in 
the Gathas. Here there is only a general record of the 
opposition between what is good and what is evil, between 
the believing and the unbelieving, so that we can obtain 
no definite knowledge of the personages concerned ; or, 
where the narrative treats of real life, the object of all 
enmity, all care, prayers and apprehensions is nothing 
else than the cow. 

As the last argument in support of the modern 
origin of the Avesta, Prof. Harlez alleges the words of 
foreign origin, which only found their way at some later 
period into the language. I have already discussed this 
question above, and, with the assistance of M. Hal^vy, 
more fully in fact than Prof. Harlez himself has done. 

In conclusion I have to make two more observations. 

It might perhaps strike the reader that I have not here 
touched upon the theory which supposes the Vishtaspa of 
the Avesta to be merely identical with the father of Darius 
Hystaspes. I did not mention it, not because it has found 
scarcely any supporters, but because of another reason 
which is, indeed, a very simple one. There are not two 
opinions as to the identity of the two names, Vishtaspa and 
Hystaspes ; but such an identity cannot, therefore, be used 
as a proof in determining the question of the age of the 
Avesta, since it does not at all involve any identification 
of the personages to whom the names belong. History 
tells us of several Hystaspes. But that the father of 
Darius must have been the very prince named in the 
Avesta, who embraced the doctrine of Zarathushtra, is by 
no means proved. It is merely a possibility, an hypothesis, 
which requires to be independently proved. Moreover, 
a proof in support of it could only be supplied by first 
endeavouring to determine the date of the Avesta from 
internal evidence. This theory, therefore, cannot form a 
link in the chain of arguments for or against the great 


^^^^ 11 —^ ■■»■ . y I^M ■■ ■- «^ -■»■ ■- ■— ■■■■■■ — ^.^M^ 

antiquity of the Avesta, for this reason, that it is only 
an assumption. It is more likely that, according to the 
result arrived at from those arguments, the question as to 
the relation of Vishtaspato Hystaspes might open out a new 
field for investigation. In my opinion, it is evident that 
the Vishtaspa of the Avesta has nothing in common with 
the father of Darius but the name, which both may have 
shared with several other Iranians. 

Finally, it is sometimes asserted that the Avesta can 
bo of no great antiquity, because the doctrines and ideas 
contained in it are too noble and elevated to have been 
developed among the Avesta people, who had not passed 
the primitive stage of civilization. Such general asser- 
tions cannot of course be proved or contradicted. It is 
more or less a question of taste. Moreover, I believe, 
that such assertions would lead one to overestimate 
the sublimity of the Avesta conceptions as regards the 
Spirit. The aesthetic value of the Avesta is generally 
supposed to be far below that of the Rig-veda, But it 
must be remembered that the Vedic Arians were as 
conspicuous for their poetic ideas and artistic taste, as 
the Iranians were distinguished for their profound moral 
virtues. This might also easily be explained from the 
physical condition of the Iranian soil, which necessarily 
accustomed its inhabitants to a rigid ideal of life, to hard 
work and industry, which, though it probably restrained 
the flight of fancy, nevertheless ennobled human nature. 

Who, again, can say how far the personal influence of 
the founder of the Avesta religion may have reached ? The 
intellectual development of man cannot be regulated at 
will. If it seems to stagnate for centuries, it often, on 
the contrary, makes gigantic strides in one single genera- 
tion, and that, too, owing to the personal influence of a 
single individual. 

The question as regards the home and age of the Avesta 
is at present the standing difficulty of Iranian Philology, 



and will, I surmise, remain so for a long time. I shall be 
content with w^hat little I can contribute towards the legi- 
timate solution, which must eventually discover the truth. 

So long as no new and convincing reasons are adduced 
on the other side, so long as the arguments I have striven 
to bring together in my work remain un rebutted, I repeat, 
in concluding this treatise, the convictions with which I set 
out, namely, that : — 

1. The home of the Avesta civilisa- 

tion was really Eastern Iran, the 
land of the Syr-darya westward 
towards the frontiers of Media 
and southward to the deserts of 
G e d r OS i a . 

2. The Avesta civilization dates from 

a very remote antiquity. It is 
fruitless to specify a particular 
century. But there is no doubt 
that it is older than Medo- 
Persian history. 

[This opinion of Dr. Geiger has been ably supported by 
the accomplished Avesta scholar. Dr. Karl Geldner, in his 
dissertation {vide " Encyclopaedia Britannica," 9th ed. 
vol. XVIII. p. 653) on the old Iranian languages and 
literature, from which I extract the following : — 

Persian (Irdnian) Languages. 

" The Iranian family of languages is one of the seven 
great branches of the Indo-European stem, and was first 
recognized as such by Sir William Jones and Friedrich 
Schlegel. Whatever uncertainty still remains as to the 
exact relationship between all the several branches of the 
Indo-European family, it is at least certain that Indian 


and Persian belong together more closely than the rest, 
and that they continued to develop side by side for a long 
period after the other branches had been already severed • 
from the parent stem.*' 

"Our knowledge of the Iranian languages in older 
periods is too fragmentary to allow of our giving a 
complete account of this family and of its special 
historical development. It will be sufficient here to 
distinguish the main types of the older and the more 
recent periods. From antiquity we have sufficient know- 
ledge of two dialects, the first belonging to Eastern Iran, 
the second to Western." 

I. Zendy or Old Bactrian. — "Neither of these two 
titles is well chosen. The name Old Bactrian suggests 
that the language was limited to the small district of 
Bactria, or at least that it was spoken there ; which is, at 
the most, only an hypothesis. Zend, again (originally 
Azainti^)^ is not the name of a language, as Anquetil 
Duperron supposed, but means "interpretation** or "ex- 
planation,** and is specially applied to the medieval 
Pahlavi translation of the Avesta. Our "Zend-Avesta** 
does not mean the Avesta in the Zend language, but is an 
incorrect transcription of the original expression '' Avistik- 
va-Zand^^ i»e.y "the holy text (Avesia) together with the 
translation.** But, since we still lack sure data to fix the 
home of this language with any certainty, the convenient 
name of Zend has become generally established in Europe, 
and may be provisionally retained. But the home of the 
Zend language was certainly in Eastern Iran; all attempts 
to seek it farther West — e.g.^ in Media' — must be regarded 
as failures. 

* Cf, J. Darmesteter, Etudes IranienneSi I. p. lo, (Paris, 1883), 


■;* ■ ■'. 

'*Zend is the language of the so-called Avesta^^ th« 
holy book of the Persians, containing the oldest documents 
, of the religion of Zoroaster. Besides this important monu- 
ment, which is about twice as large as the Iliad and 
I Odyssey put together, we only possess very scanty relics 

of the Zend language in medieval glosses and scattered 
quotations in Pahlavi books. These remains, however, 
suffice to give a complete insight into the structure of the 
language. Not only amongst Iranian languages, but amongst 
all .the languages of the Indo-European group, Zend takes 
one of the very highest places in importance for the compa-. 
rative philologist. In age it almost rivals Sans- 
krit; in primitiveness it surpasses that 
language in many points; it is inferior only 
in respect of its less extensive literature, 
and because it has not been made the 
subject of systematic grammatical treat- 
m e n t. The age of Zend must be examined in connexion 
with the age of the Avesta, In its present form the 
Avesta is not the work of a single author or of any one 
age, but embraces collections produced during a long 
period. The view which became current through 
Anquetil Duperron, that the Avesta is throughout the 
work of Zoroaster (in Zend^ Zarathushtra), the founder 
of the religion, has long been abandoned as untenable. 
But the opposite view, which is now frequently accepted, 
that not a single word in the book can lay claim to the 
authorship of Zoroaster, also appears on closer study too 
sweeping. In the Avesta two stages of the language 
are plainly distinguishable, for which the supposition of 
local dialectic variation is not sufficient explanation, but 

' As was said above, this, and not Zend-Avesta^ is the correct 
title for the original text of the Persian Bible. The origin of the 
word is doubtful, and we cannot point to it before the time of the 
Sassanians. Perhaps it means ''announcement,*' "revelation," 





which appear rather to be an older and a younger 
stage in the development of the same language. The 
older is represented in but a small part of the whole 
work, the so-called Gdthds or songs. These songs form 
the true kernel of the book Yasna j^ they must have been 
in existence long before all the other parts of the Avesta, 
throughout the whole of which allusions to them occur. 
These Gdthds are what they claim to be, and what they 
are honoured in the whole Avesta as being — the actual 
productions of the Prophet himself or of his time. They 
bear in themselves irrefutable proofs of their authenticity, 
bringing us face to face not with the Zoroaster of the 
legends but with a real person, announcing a new 
doctrine and way of salvation, no supernatural Being 
assured of victory, as he is represented in later times, 
but a mere man, often himself despairing of his final 
success^ and struggling not with spirits and demons but 
with human obstacles of every sort, in the midst of a 
society of fellow-believers which was yet feeble and in 
its earliest infancy. It is almost impossible that a much 
later period could have produced such unpretentious and 
almost depreciatory representations of the deeds and 
personality of the Prophet; certainly nothing of the kind is 
found out of the Gathds. If, then, the Gathas 
reachbackto the time of Zoroaster, and 
he himself, according to the most probable 
estimate, lived as early as the 14th 
century B.C, the oldest component parts 
of the Avesta are hardly inferior in age 
to the oldest Vedic hymns. The Gathas are 
still extremely rough in style and expression; the language 

* The Avesta is divided into three parts; (i) Yasna, with an 
appendix, Visparad, a collection of prayers and formulas for divine 
service ; (2) Vendidad, containing direction for purification and 
the penal code of the ancient Persians; (3) Khordah-Avesta, 


is richer in forms than the more recent Zend; and the 
vocabulary shows important differences. The predominance 
of the long vowels is a marked characteristic, the constant 
appearance of a long final vowel contrasting with the 
preference for a final shoot in the later speech. 

Sanskrit. Gatha. Later Zend. 

abhi {near) aibi atwi. 

Ihd (work) tzh& tzha, 

" The clearest evidence of the extreme age of the 
language of the Gathas is its striking resemblance to 
the oldest Sanskrit, the language of the Vedic poems. 
The Gdtha language (much more than the later Zend) 
and the language of the Vedas have a close resem- 
blance, exceeding that of any two Romanic languages ; 
they seem hardly more than two dialects of one tongue. 
Whole strophes of the Gathas can be turned into good 
old Sanskrit by the application of certain phonetic laws ; 
for example : — 

** Mat . vdo • paddtsh -yd, * frasruta • xzhaydo, 
Pairijasai • Mazdd - ustdnazasto. 
At • vao • asha • aredrahydchd • nemanghd. 
At • vho ' vangheush • mananghb • hunaretdtd^^^ 
becomes in Sanskrit — 

'' Mana vak padaih ya prafrutd Ihdydh 
Pa rigach&i medha u tta nahastah . 
At va rtena radhrasyacha namasd. 
At vd vasor manasak sUnrtayd,"^ 

** The phonetic system of Zend consists of simple signs 
which express the different shades of sound in the language 

or the Small Avesta, containing the Yasht, the contents of which 
are for the most part mythological, with shorter prayers for private 

* ** With verses of my making, which now are heard, and with 
prayerful hands, I come before thee, Mazda, and with the sincere 
humility of the upright man and with the believer's song of praise." 


with great precision. In the vowel-system a notable 
feature is the presence of the short vowels e and o, which 
are not found in Sanskrit and Old Persian; thus the 
Sanskrit sanity Old Persian hantiy^ becomes heniz in Zend. 
The use of the vowels is complicated by a tendency 
to combinations of vowels and to epenthesis, i.e., 
the transposition of weak vowels into the next syllable ; 
e.g., Sanskrit bharafiy Zend baraiti (he carries) ; Old 
Persian margu, Zend mourva (Merv) ; Sanskrit rinaktiy 
Zend irinakhti. Triphthongs are not uncommon ; e^g., 
Sanskrit aqvebkyas (dative plural of afva, a horse) is in 
Zend aspaeibyo ; Sanskrit krnoti (he does), Zend kere- 
naoiti. Zend has also a great tendency to insert irrational 
vowels, especially near liquids ; owing to this the words 
seem rather inflated ; e,g,j savya (on the left) becomes 
in Zend kavaya ; bhr&jati (it glitters), Zend bar&saiti ; 
fnd (yvyfj)y Zend gead. In the consonantal system we are 
struck by the abundance of sibilants {s and s/r, in 
three forms of modification, 2 and zA) and nasals 
(five in number), and by the complete absence of /. A 
characteristic phonetic change is that of rt into sA ; e.g,, 
Zend asAa for Sanskrit rta, Old Persian aria (in Aratax- 
erxes) ; fravasAi for Pahlavi fravaretin. New Persian 
ferver (the spirits of the dead). The verb displays a 
like abundance of primary forms with Sanskrit, but the 
conjugation by periphrasis is only slightly developed. 
The nounr has the same eight cases as in Sanskrit. In 
the GdtAds there is a special ablative, limited, as in 
Sanskrit, to the *'a'' stems^ whilst in later Zend the 
ablative is extended to all the stems indifferently. 

** We do not know in what character Zend was written 
before the time of Alexander. From the Sassanian period 
we find an alphabetic and very legible character in use, 
and derived from Sassanian Pahlavi and closely resembling 
the later Pahlavi found in books. The oldest known 
»ianuscripts are of the i-4th century A.D/'} 



(Translated from the German of Dr. F. von Spiegel, Eranische 
Alferlhumskunde, vol, I. bk. II. chap. II. pp. 668-716.) 

(Ibid. vol. III. bk, VII. chap. V, pp. 797-834.) 

{Ibid. vol. Ill, bk, VII, chap. II. pp, 759-771.) 


I. GushtAsp and Zoroaster. 

We can hardly treat of Gushtasp* and his reign, without 
previously speaking of Zoroaster, not merely because the 
appearance of the Prophet is the most important event of 
that reign, but also because a great part of the incidents to 
be presently described would be unintelligible, if the accept- 
ance of the religion of Zoroaster were not considered as 
a previous fact. For the first time we meet in these 
obscure ages with a personality of which we can ask, 
whether the historical character does not outweigh the 
mythological and legendary. Zoroaster is, further, a 
personage frequently named not only by Oriental, but also 
by Western authors. We are, therefore, obliged not to be 
contented regarding his career with the testimony derived 
from those sources, which we have before designated as the 
only Iranian traditions extant; but we must here add 
a few supplementary remarks on the authorities for our 
knowledge of the life of Zoroaster. 

The name of Zoroaster was known to the Greeks 
and Romans, and is often mentioned by them as that of 
the founder of the Magian religion. If we approach the 
matter more closely, and enquire what those Greeks 
and Romans knew regarding him, we only find in each 
case notices which are not at all sufficient for a 
sketch of Zoroaster's life and work. Much less can we 

* It is well known that this name takes the form VistA^pa in 
Old-Persian and Old-Bactrian, and is identical with the Greek 
form Hystaspes. 


expect from the classical writers a description of those 
remote times wherein Zoroaster is said to have lived. 
There are, on the whole, only three writers of whom we 
can avail ourselves with regard to this question, namely, 
Herodotus, Berosus, and Ktesias. The two first are trust- 
worthy authors and justly deserve to be relied upon; but 
Herodotus has not named Zoroaster at all, and Berosus, of 
whose writings we have only a few ffagments, has perhaps 
mentioned him by name, but this cannot be affirmed with 
certainty. As regards Ktesias, his accounts are generally 
considered to be unreliable. So much may here be suffi- 
cient by way of preliminary remark concerning those 
writers of whom we shall speak more fully later on. 

Our Oriental sources are far more complete than the 
Western ones, and also deserve to be described somewhat 
more in detail. In the Persian Cuneiform Inscriptions the 
name of Zoroaster is nowhere mentioned ; and, even if it be 
probable that he was already known in the time of Darius, 
such a belief will have to be proved from internal evidence. 
So frequently does the Avesta mention the founder of the 
Mazdayasnan religion, that it is self-evident that the 
accounts given in this book respecting the Iranian founder 
of religion, have for us a peculiar significance. With these 
accounts are linked those notices, partly also valuable, 
which are given in later Parsi writings on the life of 
Zoroaster, and which must be at least partially based 
on more ancient accounts. The information afforded 
by Mahomedan wTiters, hitherto availed of, like Hamza 
and the author of Mujmil, is indeed not very copious, 
though not without some value. The same may also be 
said respecting the account of Shahrastani, who has noticed 
Zoroaster to some extent in his work on religious parties 
and philosophical schools. 

Special attention, -however, respecting this period must 
be paid to the Book of Iranian Kings, viz., the Shaknameh. 
It must be observed that the particular section, which 


describes the work of Zoroaster and a portion of the reign 
of Gushtasp, does not belong to Firdusi, but to the more 
ancient poet Dakiki, who had commenced to write thi^ 
portion of the Book of Kings, hut, owing to his violent 
death, was cut short in his work, before he had yet (iuishe4 
rnore than a thonsajiid couplets. Now F|rdusi states that 
Dakiki appeared to him in a dream, and requested him to 
embody his unfinished work in the Book of Kings, witi) 
>yhich request F|rdusi con^plied. This entire portion of the 
Book of Kings (which extends froAi page 1065 to 1 108 of 
M. Macan's edition), cannot, therefore, be regarded as pro- 
ceeding from Ffrdusi. However, as FJrdusi does not 
p^press himself very enthusiasticaUy regarding Dakiki in 
the concluding words to that part, it can hardly have been 
his veneration for the deceased poet, whicl^ pfompted hin^ 
to enlarge his work. The true reasons are not, however, 
difficult to penetrate. The secure position which Mahmud 
of Gazni had conferred upon the poet Firdusi to enable 
him to finish undisturbed his great work, proved a 
source of envy to the courtiers. They attempted to raise 
suspicion against the po<^t in the mind of hjs patron, and 
especially maligned him by saying that )^is great enthi^- 
siasm for the traditionary lore of the qation was due tp 
his inclination towards the old religion of the country. 
The siispicion of not being an orthodox Moslem would 
have appeared |x)onstrotis in ^he eyes of so fanatical a king 
as Mahmud was, and for a poet made thus suspect a 
description of the life and acts of Zoroaster was an 
extremely delicate task. Firdusi, by ostensibly ^king up 
the work pf his predecessor, which directly treated of that 
yery life of the Iranian Prophet, evaded all difficulties. 
While he fully secured himself ^y that device, it cannot 
be denied th^t he also did his best for us. 

As is well known Dakiki was never converted to Islamism. 
He belonged to the old religion of the country, and had not 
the least reason to describe the life and the exploits pf hi^ 
yoL. II. w 



Prophet otherwise than they were known to him. Conse- 
quently, we can believe ourselves entitled to consider the 
account of Zoroaster in the Book of Kings as a true 
representation of the view which people had at that time 
in Iran of the work of the Prophet, at all events' a truer 
one than that which Fkdiisi would have been able to offer 
or justified in offering. The peculiar features* of thld 
description by Dakiki are the Buddhistic elcfmeiits; whicli 
appear to have found a place in the Zoroastrian belief, 
and then again the hostile feeling against the religiofi 
of Zoroaster, which we shall treat of more fully in dujfe 
course. It is as easy to explain the one as the other. 
We know > that, in the period after Alexander, Buddhism 
w:as powerful in Eastern Iran, 'and that it counted its 
confes^i^ as far as Taberistin. It is especially certain 
that many Biiddhist priests were found in Bactria.^ This 
state of things, ^which b^gan pterbaps^'in the 'first centur3r 
before Christ, lasted till the seventh centiirj^A. D.,wheii the 
appearaiYce oflslamism alone cut short the devek)pmei^t 
of Buddhism' in -Kabul and Bactria; and it is in that 
period that We "'will have to place the rise of the Zara- 
thushtra-legend in the form in which it is presented to us 
by Dakiki. It is natural enough that the adherents ofv 
the doctrine of Zoroaster did 'not regard with favour the 
astonishingly rapid progress; which ' the Buddhist religion 
made in Bactria and the adjoining countries; but it is 
also obvious that in spite thereof they were inclined to 
accept several peculiarities of< the new religion, whe^ 
they found it convenient to?' 'do «o. All these circum- 
stances show that the Oriental legend of Zoroaster is 
throughout transmitted to us in^ its Badrian- form.- > 

If we now consider more closely this* remarkable cha- 
racter, who was destined to play so important a part ifr 

* Vide the proofs in Lassen, Ind. Alter thumskunde, II. p. 107$. 


• — * ■ ■ ■ - . . ■ 

Iranian intellectual life, ^ we shall have to say a few words 
first with reference to his name. Among the ancients he 
.usually appears under the name Za>p<^dpoff, and from this 
'torm has originated the current form Zoroaster, which 
name we have also here retained as thus generally intelli- 
gible. Only Diodorus calls him by the name of ZaBpa6<rTrjs,^ 
probably on the authority of Ktesias. Among the later 
writers we also find the name-forms zdpi;r, Zapd^s, and 
Zaparos ; but M, Windischmann appears to me to have proved 
that by the latter names is meant, not Zoroaster, but an 
Assyrian, who is said to have been the so-called teacher of 
Pythagoras, The most ancient Iranian fprn) thajt we know 
of his name is pronounced Zarathu^htra, and with it 
the Greek z<»p6agrTpog does not quite, harmonize. It must 
be presumed that the Western . q^tion^ had a somewhat 
different form of the name,,. whij;;h may perbapSi have 
sounded Zaraustra, and from this we may trace its 
Greek version. AIL the Oriental forms of the name go 
back to the original Zarathushtra^ by which the Armenian 
Zardasht may be accqunted for« In Huzvaresh the forms 
are Zertusht and Zat^ukshi,; in .Modern Persian the most 
usual are Zardusht SLtidZarduJUashL Otb&r less common 
Variations have been collected;by M. Windischmann.' 

It has been found not less difficull to arrive at the 
precise meaning of the^n^e th^n it <li^s been to fix its 
original form. The explanation transmitted to us by th^ 
ancients, which, it is presumed, proceeds from Deinon, 
and according to which the word signifies the same as 


. ^ For the following, compare Windischmann, Zoroas/r. S/udien, 

ip« 44- 

^ ' According to Lagard (^Gesamtnelie Abhandlungen^ p. 47), 

it might be read Xaothraustes in Diodorus. *. 

.' ' Zariushi Zaradukashij Zariuhasht^ ZarKusht, Zaratushi\ 

Zaradushty Zariusht^ Zardush/y Zarduhashi, Zara^lushf^ Zarah- 

dush/, even ZardisA/t Zardishi, (Zor, Siudien^ p. 45^. 


A<rrpobdTffs, which Bochart supposed to be aarpSfanyj, has 
long been rejected as untenable. With regard to the 
explanation of the native form Zarathushtra^ to which 
all attempts at interpretation are now entirely confined, 
no one has hitherto icoiiie to any conclusion^ not evert 
Concerning the language according to which the name 
should be explained. Mr. George Rawlinson^ however, 
has very recently attempted td explaih it by means of th^ 
Semitic languages ; assuming Ziru Ishtar as the original 

form, Ziru might be the Semitic 3^*1t, ' seed, descendant,' 

Ishtar the name of the planet Venus. Of course the 
explanation is nearer and more probable if one endeavours 
to interpret it through the IrSnian languages, but^ even 
with the aid of interpretations based on them, one cannot 
lay claim to absolute certainty. The explanation of Dr. 
F. Muller appears to me to be the most probable, accord- 
ing to which Zarathushtra would mean " possessing 
courageous camels."^ The t^icird should^ on this suppo- 

* \y. Muller, Zendstudien, part I., Vienna, 1863, pp. 3-7 : — 
"The name of the great prophet of the Iranians, whom 
we commonly call Zoroaster, according to the Greek forni 
t^poa^rprit, is pronounced ZarathusYitra in the language in which 
he himself spoke. Its true etymological meaning is a matter of 
conjecture only. 

"The modem adherents ol the Prophet interpret the name, 
according to the modem Persian form Zardusht or Zariusht^ 
(«£j»0j3 — oJtJjj) as meaning *a gold star'. Should this 
explanation be traced to 01d-Bactrian> in which tairi corresponds 
to the first part zar^ * gold,' while the name of the star Tishtar 

f ji44j^CX9'^\ must stand for the second part iusht, dushU * a star,' 

we must substitute ifor Zartusht^ a different form, zairitishiryay 
which bears but little resemblance to the i^al !orm of the name 

'*An et3rmology based on the form Zarathushtra itself, is givert 
by Bumouf, the founder of Zend studies, (Comm, sur le Faond 
XII.), who analyzes the word into zarath and usYitra^ and 
explains it by '/ulvos camelos hahem' Of these component parti 

gushtXsp And zoftOASXEk. i^^ 

sition^ be altered to Zaratushira — the change of a / into th 
is likewise witnessed in the Gathas in some other exaniples, 
especially in such words in which u follows /. Besides, 
Other names also prove that the Iranians made use of the 
^ord usYitra^ "camel," in the formation of proper names 
(for instance Frashaostra). As already said, even thid 
interpretation is hot perfectly reliable. 

As regards the age in which Zoroaster probably 
flourished, we shall Hardly be able to arrive at more 
Yrertainty than in the case of his name and its meaning. 

the second can now be shbwn 16 hav6 the meaning ' camel ' in 
the stock of the Old-fiactrian language, and can also be com- 

Jpared with the second part j»o** * horse' in analogous proper 

names, such as VlsYi^pa, Kere^pa^ Pourushaspay Haechataspa^, 
however, as regards the first part zdrath\ HaUg justly remarks 
that it cannot beat the rteaiiin^ * yellow ' (for, as is well known, 
* yellow' is denoted in Old-Bactriaii by zoiriia, and in moderA 
Persian by zard) ; but it must be the form of a present participle^ 
t(01d-Bactrian zarai = Skr. harat, jarat). Thus the meaning 
suggested by Burnouf is likewise inadmissible, on account of 
the objections to the first part of the compound name he suggests. 
''Another meaning, which, if I mistake not, is suggested 
by Roth, is that of iardthiishtra as * a goldsmith.' But a 
two-fold objection, phonetic as well as practical, might be urged 
against it. If we adopt this meaning, we must divide the 
Vord into zara and fhus\iira\ and explaiii zara to be 'gold.' 
However, this form cannot be proved to exist in Old-Bactrian^ 
Vhere the word for * gold' is invariably pronounced uatri = Skr. 
hart. Again, the second par^ thu^ira, presupposes a violent 
contraction as well as a lengthening of the sufiix, ot the word 

t^^teXJ^^uT^ [ihwore^ari)\ both these forms^ morebver, hav6 

nothing analogous to them in Old-Bactriail. Now, as regards thd 
Jpractical objections, I believe, they are still weightier. As is weli 
known the Avesta everywhere speaks only of three orders : priests 

^ji>»j>l^«\ warriors (^touH)'*^'*^); ^^^ husbandmen {\**Sxfy^\\ 

but we do not find any mention of handicraftsmen in the oldest 
fragments, still less of artists who devoted themselves to the manue- 




" I •* ' 'y 

To what period Zoroaster belongs, according to the view 
of Oriental authorities, . is already known from oi^ 
previous inquiries concerning the chronology of the 
legendary history regarding him. According to these 
authorities^ Zoroaster belongs to the middle portion of the 
^uratioji of the world since the creation of the human raco, 
or 9^000 years after the creation of the world. We also kno^ 
that, according to Iranian dogmatics, a thousand years 

T-- ^^ — r-- — •■ r — ^t • ^ ^ 

facture of such an article of luxury as gold [?]. Now if we suppose 
Zarathushtra to have received this iianie either on account of his 
own vocation or of that of his father^ we shall have to make an 
assumption which ti, ihconsistent with the sacred writings and 
external evidences, and which could oi^ly > be based upon the 
etymology above proposed. We must^ therefore, also reject this 
etymology, which identifies Zarathushtra as a goldsmith. 

** A derivation founded on the analysis of the word into zaralh 
and ushtra is proposed by Haug in his Gathas, vol. II. p. 246. 
llie first part admits of three significations: (i) 'growing old,* 
(Skr. jarai)^ which is rejected as being evidently inappropriate ; 
(2) 'heart,' (Skr. Ar</) ; (3) * praise-singing,' (Skr. garat). Th^ 
second part ushtra, however, is not rendered by * camel,* but 
explained to be a contraction of u//ara, * excellent.' Zarathushtra^ 
therefore, is either * he who has an excellent heart,' or what seems 
better — Uhg excellent, panegyric poet or singer,' according as we 
deteroiine upon the one or the pther meaning of the word zarath. 
.. .''Both these etymologies also present phonetic as well as practical 
^ difficulties. If we regard the former, the identification of zarath 
with zarady an^ also of the. latter with C»*eijjf^ (zeredhaem), is 

striking ; for its identity with Skr. hrd i§ disputed in the passages 
cited by Hang (Yasna XLIII. 1 1 ; XXXI. i ; s&s - mashyaeshu ,. 
zarazddiihh. ; — y(?i • zarazddo • aghen • Mazdai)^ wherein zarat 
occurs as the first part of a composite word. We might suggest 
^jroj with the same, if not with greater justice (Benfey, Glossarzutk 
SamavedOf p. 206). Agaiii the identity of /h with d still remain^ 
doubtfuli even if w^ concede! that zaraz and hrd are identical. y 
•* In just; the same ^^ay it is difficult to identify ushtra with 
uttara ; because, even if we allow the ehmination of a, for which| 
indeed, there is no authority,-*- since this change is never witnessed 
in the suffix /ara,— we should also expect the form uq/ra, just 


J^ : : • •! 

• • » 

cannot yet have fully elapsed since his death, for otherwise 
a new prophet should have already appeared.' That we 
cannot with such data undertake to describe chrono- 
logically the life of Zoroaster, needs no further proof. Let 
is %ee wheth<jr' the accounts of our Western writers helfi 
us to any better result. - r t 

*• The afee of Zoroaster has been of late tltt object of 
searching inquiries.^ The oldest Western writer, wh^ 


^ Some Christian writers, like Abul Faraj (Histdynast. ed. 
Pococke, p. 33), and Eutychius (Annal ed. Selden, p. 262), affirm 
that Zoroaster lived under Smerdes and Cambyses. This opinion 
seems to originate from the Mahomadans, in which case perhaps 
i;ooo years might have elapsed before the appearance of Muham^ 
med, perhaps the prophet whom the Iranians had expected at 
fhat period. • * ^ '1 

• Windischmann, Z(^r. Siudien, pp. 27O, 274, 279, 28^5, 291, 
302 ; Rapp, Zeitschrift der DMG, vol. XIX. p. 22. *. 

as basta = bad-^- ta^ and dasia = dath + /fl. It happens, however, 
^at the form %araihushira^ as against the faulty zaraihustra^ is on 
the one hand attested as the correct one ; whfle, on the othei^' 
ft is only the former, and not the latter, that • can be the result 
of new forms with sk onL > 'u 

I •* Besides these phonetic difficuhies, there is also a practical one 
with reference to the name. » When Haug interprets the nam^ 
is ' an excellent praise-singpr,* and th^i-ewith observes that thfr 
chanting of hymns in the Gathas plays an important part, and thift 
Zarathushtra appears himself as a poet, he of *course speaks of the 
Prophet and of the religious founder. It must then be assumed 
fhat Zarathushtra was not the real name, but only a title of honour 
given to the founder of the Parsi religion ; but this assumption fs 
not confirmed»by the sacred writings. If the name is not a mere 
title of honour but a real name which belonged to the Brof^t 
from his childhood, such a supposition cannot be supported }^ 
any analogy ; for, if we examine the old Persian proper names 
occurring in the Avesta and dseivhdfe, wfe do itet find among them 
any which could have been formed in a similar way, especially 
taking into consideration Zarathushtra's high spiritual excellence. 

*'The interpretation of the name Zarathushtra as 'the most 
excellent panegyric poet,' was later on abandoned by Haug 



mentions Zoroaster, is Xanthus of Sardis, who is said to 
have placed Zoroaster 600 years (according to others 6^000 
years) before the fall of Xerxes^ Should the first of 
these statements be correct, Zoroaster must have flourished 
about 1080 years before Christ. As Pliny {H. N. XXX. 

himself, (Essays, ist ed. ^86^, p. 252, Note), who adopted 
another instead. According to this view the name may be sup- 
posed to mean *lhe most excellent director or guardian.' In 
this case we have the first part zarcUh = Skr. jaraX. ' old,' whilst 
the second part bejars the same meanii^ as above. Against tUsfc 
explanation the same diff^ulties n^ay b|e urged as before ; i|nd we 
should certainly again set ^forth the same objections, were it not 
that Haug regards the name Zarathushtra as, indeed, only an 
appellation, perhaps denoting ' a high-priest.' But, according to 
this assumption, the proper name of the founder of the Parsi 
religion would then be quite unknown, which is plainly incon- 
sistent with the testimony of the sacred writings and the old^sl 
tradition of the Parsis on the one hand, and th/e history of 
different religions on the other. Again, thci existence of several 
2arathushtras will have to be proved, a pjoint which could neither 
be supported by the scriptures nor by the legends. 

" My opinion is that in order to give a correct interpretadon of 
^he name, we must first a.nalyze it into its elementary p;arts, and 
^hen try to justify our eacplanation by proper analogies. If we 
90W examine the r^mCfc which is no doubt a compound word, we 
inust unquestionably divide it \r}io zarath and wsh/r^. The 
latter word can in this case, as elsewhere, only denote a * cameU^ 
while the form zaraih, as Haug has already correctly observed^, 
^annot but be a present participle. 

"Thus the question is oi^y one. regarding the correct meaning. 
The simplest way would be to trace %arath to the Old Indian root 
Jfar * to take, to gain anything as booty,' and the word would 
then mean, just as hharad-vaja ^Xi'di jqmad-agniy ' obtaining camels 

91s booty' {cf, jio«-»«)c^^ 'having horses won or conquered'). 

5ut I prefer to take zaraih as a present participle from the root 
kar = ghar^ from vhich also comes the word haras^ ' glowing 
fire,' then * wrath* (haras krodhandmd). Accordingly, Zara- 
ihushira must mean * possessing courageous camels,' (compare 

j,^mm»^{lil * having lean horses,' j*e)««(2g»)>Ve» * havinjj shaggy 



i, 2) informs us, Eudoxus and Aristotle place Zoroaster 
6,000 years before the death of Plato (2. ^.,6350 B. C.)» 
while HermodoruSi who was a disciple of Plato, following 
Eudoxus and Aristotle, fixes upon 5,000 years before the 
Trojan war {t\ e,, 6100 B. C). With the latter statement 
Plutarch also agrees (the '' /sid, " ch. 48), as well 
as Hermippus, according to the testimony of Pliny. 
Whether Berosus has named this Zoroaster must remain 
doubtful, and even if the name Zoroaster really occur* 
red in his writings, he may not have meant thereby 
the founder of the Iranian religion, but, as I believe, a king 
of the same name. M. Windischmann has already fully 
discussed^ the statement of Porphyrins, that Zoroaster was 
probably the teacher of Pythagoras, and might be placed, 
therefore, in the sixth century before the Christian era. 
The same writer has also proved that zdPparos named by 
Porphyrins cannot be our Zoroaster. Agathias tells us 
that Zoroaster lived under a king Hystaspes, but it is not 
clear whether the latter was the father of Darius or not. 
Naturally, Agathias here means Vishtaspa or Gushtasp ; 
he may even have had before him the same legend 
respecting Zoroaster which we read at the present day. 
Suidas even distinguishes between two different Zoroasters, 
one of whom is said to have lived 500 years (5,000 years 
may be read) before the Trojan war; the other is said to 

^ Windischmann, ZoroasL S/udten, p. 261. 

horses'). This simple explanation is also intelligibly supported 
by the constant occurrence in Greek as well as in Persian, of such 

names as contain j*ei«« ' horse' in the second part. That the 

camel was a domestic animal like the horse» among the ancient 
Persians, appears most clearly from Vend. XV. 68 seg.; it was 
even regarded as a more costly animal than the horse. (Comp. 
Vend. XIV. 50-53). 

'* Now as regards the epithet ' courageous' applied to camels, I 
refer my readers to the excellent description of them in Tarafah 
Muallaqah, verses 1 1 seg,'* Tr. ».] 
VOL. 11. X 


have been an astronomer, who lived in the age of Ninus. 
On these statements of Suidas very little reliance can be 
placed. One here sees clearly that he found in his sources 
of information different statements respecting Zoroaster, 
which he was unable to reconcile with one another, and 
which he endeavoured to bring into harmony by distinguish- 
ing in this manner between two persons of the same name. 
How one should act on these contradictory testimonies^ it 
is not difficult to indicate. Dr. Rapp^ has justly remarked 
that the accounts which place the age of Zoroaster about 
6^000 years back, are of little, importance, since it is 
incredible that at that time chronicles could have been 
available, which safely followed up the history of the past 
five or six thousand years. These statements can thus 
prove no more than that even at the time when they were 
made, Zoroaster was not known to be a historical personage. 
As regards the statements of Xanthus^ their accuracy has 
been questioned, and though the reasons, which cau3ed this 
doubt are not solid, ^ so much is indeed certain, that his 
chronology is not reliable. As Xanthus places Zoroaster 
6,000 years before the expedition of Xerxes, we need not 
waste time on his statement; but more than this, even^when 
he places him only 600 years before this period, it is still 
more than doubtful whether his historical proofs extended 
even so far back. There remains only Ktesias, according 
to whose statement Zoroaster seems to fall into the same 
period with Ninus. But, leaving aside the fact that the 
testimony of Ktesias is generally not much to be relied 
upon, we must also doubt whether he really meant the 
Iranian founder of religion by the Bactrian king Zoroaster, 
t)f whom he may have spoken, or only a king of that 
•name. After a review of the different statements recorded 
in Western writings, it will not surprise any one, if we 
give it as our opinion that neither Occidental nor Oriental 

* Rapp, ZddmG, vol, XIX. p. 25. 

' Windischmann, Zoroast. Siudien^ pp. 268-2 75 • 


testimony yields us any sure ground on which to fix the 
age of Zoroaster. In this view MM. Gutschmid' and 
Rapp^ have already preceded us. 

Still more material than the question regarding the name 
and the period of Zoroaster, is that concerning his native 
country, on account of the important conclusions which can 
be drawn from the answer to the latter. However, it will 
scarcely be ever possible to arrive at quite a certain result 
on this point. We begin our review of the several notices 
which lie before us of the native land of Zoroaster, with 
the Westerns and especially with Ktesias, not only because 
he is one of the most ancient historians, but also because 
he has a certain importance from the fact that a number 
of other writers have followed him. According to the 
historical account of Ktesias, which Diodorus has preserved 
for us, Ninus is said to have, with 1,700,000 foot and 
210,000 horse, invaded Bactria, where the king of the land, 
Oxyartes, awaited him with 400,000 men. Victorious in 
the beginning, the Bactrian king had in the end to give way 
to superior power, and was obliged to retire to his capital, 
where he was then defeated by Ninus with the assistance 
of Semiramis. In the account of Diodorus there does 
not at all occur, as we find, the name of Zoroaster. It is 
true, the name of the Bactrian king does not everywhere 
appear as Oxyartes ; several manuscripts also give instead 
I^a6fynjf, other XaiJpn^ff and Za^pTTis, but in none do we meet 
with ZwpowrrpTjs. Nor is it less probable that the name may 
have been thus pronounced originally. We still possess 
fragments of a historiographer, Kephalion,' who has 

^ Beifrage Zur Geschtchie des alien OrienfSy p. 90. 

• Rapp, ZddmG, vol. XIX. p. 26. 

■ Kephalion in Eusebius Chron. arm /, 43 ed. Aucher : — 
** Incipio scribere de qutbus et alii commemorarunt atque inprimis 
Ellanicus Lesbius Ciesiasque CnidiuSy deinde Herodotus Alicar^ 
nassus, Primum Asiae imperaruni Assyrii, ex quibus erat Ninus 
Belt (filius), cujus regni aetaie res quant plurimae celeberrimaeque 


confessedly made use of Ktesias concerning the same 
story, and he expressly gives the name of king Zoro- 
aster, in a tradition at least, to him who is called by 
Diodorus, Oxyartes. With him Eusebius^ and Theo* agree. 
After them Arnobius' and finally the Berosian Sibyl, 

vtrtuies gestae /uerunt. Postea his adjiciens prefer t etiam genera- 
Hones Semiramidis atque (narraf) de Zoroastri Magi Bactria- 
norum regis dehellatione a Semiramide; nee nan tempus Nini LIL 
annos. fuisset atque de obitu ejus. Post quem quum regnasset 
Semiramis, tnuro Bahylonem circumdedit ad eandem /ormam, qua d 
plerisque dictum est : Ctesia nimirum et Zenone Herodotoque nee non 
aliis ipsorum posteris, Deinde etiam apparatum belli Semiramidis 
adversus Indos ejusdemque cladem et fugam narrate ^c.'* '* I 
proceed to write of matters which others also have treated, 
especially Ellanicus the Lesbian and Ctesias the Cnidian, and also 
Herodotus of Halicarnassus, The Assyrians first ruled Asia. 
Among them was Ninus, son of Belus, during the time of whose 
reign the most numerous exploits were achieved and the 
most glorious virtues displayed. Next after these he mentions 
also the generations of Semiramis, and describes the rebel- 
lion against Semiramis of Zoroaster, the Magus king of the 
Bactrians. He says that the term of Ninus's reign was fifty-two 
years and speaks of his death. Semiramis reigned after him, and 
8ui;rounded Babylon with a wall exactly as described by most 
authors, by Ctesias in particular, by Zeno and Herodotus and 
others after them. He moreover describes the preparations of 
Semiramis for the war against the Indians, her defeat and flight, 
&c." This event is also recorded by Syncellus in quite a similar 

* Eusebius, Chron, IV. 35 ed. Aucher : — •' Zoroastres Magus 
rex Bactrianorum clarus habetur adversus quem Ninus dimicavit" 
^ Zoroaster the Magus, king of the Bactrians, against whom 
Ninus fought, is considered famous." Praep, Ev. X. 9. " Over 
whom (the Bactrians) Zoroaster reigned." 

■ Progymnast : — " Zoroaster was the king of the Bactrians . . . ." 

■ Cf. Arnob, adv. gent. I. 5. : — " Ut inter Assy rios et Bactrianos 
Nino quondam Zoroastreque ductoribus non tantumferro dimicare- 
tur et viribu9, verum etiam magicis et Chaldaeorum ex recondito 
diseiplinis^ invidia nostra haec/uit^*^ '^Has this feud of ours 



whom we shall mention hereafter, also place Zoroaster 
in Bactria. 

As all the reports just enumerated associate Ninus with 
a king Zoroaster, it appears^ indeed^ as though the name 
of Oxyartes had been erroneously substituted for that of 
Zoroaster in the text of Diodorus. That even Ktesias 
could have meant by the Zoroaster named by him the 
fbunder of the Iranian religion, can by no means be 
confidently asserted, as the entire narrative has evidently 
undergone transformation in a later age. This becomes 
extremely clear when we compare the text of Diodorus 
with that of Arnobius ; they both refer to the same facts ; 
but whilst, according to the story of the first, two kings 
fight against each other with overwhelming forces, accord- 
ing to the second, Ninus appears as the representative 
of the Chaldean, Zoroaster as that of the Bactrian Magi. 
Since^ however, in the account of Diodorus there is no allu- 
sion to Zoroaster's religious character^ in spite of its being 
really the most complete report, it appears to me very 
probable that the mention made by Ktesias was only with 
reference to a king Zoroaster^ and that the same was 
changed later on into the Magus. Besides, there is to a 
certain degree an inconsistency in calling anybody a Magus 
and at the same time a Bactrian. Hence I am inclined to 
doubt whether we can quote Ktesias as an authority for 
the opinion that Zoroaster had his home in Bactria. We 
must, however, admit that we are in no case inclined to 
rely much on the assertions of this historian. 

Besides those already cited, there still remain some 
ancient authorities who regard Zoroaster as a Bactrian, 
without allowing one to affirm that they, too, have borrowed 
their statements from Ktesias. But such authorities 
belong to a late period. One of these is Agathias 

been like the war between the Assyrians and the Bactrians under 
Zoroaster and Ninus, in which strength and arms were not only 
used but also incantation and the mystic arts of the Chaldeans ? " 

^ I 


(L. II., 24 ed. Nieb.)y another Ammianus Marcellinus 
(XXIII. 6. 32). Both these writers recognize in Zoroaster 
not a king but the founder of a religion ; both place him under 
a king Hystaspes. The former observes that we cannot 
tell whether this Hystaspes was the father of Darius or 
not, the latter on the contrary explicitly calls him the 
father of Darius. It appears to me very probable^ not 
to say certain, that both these authors had the knowledge 
which we still possess at the present day as to the life 
of Zoroaster, namely, the fact that he flourished under a 
king Vishtdspa or Gushtasp. If Ammianus recognized 
in this Vishtdspa^ Hystaspes the father of Darius, who 
was alone known to him, we think such recognition very 
natural, but just as incorrect as his representing Zoro- 
aster as a Bactrian, because he heard that the latter had 
worked in Bactria. 

Besides, it is not at all the general view of antiquity that 
Zoroaster was a Bactrian; a whole series of authorities 
look upon him as a Mede or a Persian. In support of 
the view that Zoroaster was a Mede the authority of 
Berosus may perhaps be cited. This writer has composed 
a work, which is mentioned by the ancients under the title 
of XaXdoi«o or Bo/3wXaviaK(£. In estimating the value of this 
work of Berosus ancient authors are full of praise, in 
which modem writers also participate. An unfortunate 
fate has followed the book, not only in that it is 
lost, but also in the fact that the few fragments preserved 
are not transmitted to us in their original form, but 
have passed through several hands before reaching 
us. With justice does the latest publisher,^ therefore, 
observe : — 

** Fragmenta satis amplaprae ceteris servarunt Josephus^ 
Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, Syncellus. Quorum 

* Vd. C. Muller, Fragmenta Hist, Graec. II. p. 496. 


tamen ne unus quidem ipsos Berosi libros tnspexisse 
videtur (comp. M. von Niebuhr, Geschichte Assurs, 
p. 12). Syncellus ex Eusebio^ vel secuii Eusebius sua hausit 
ex Africano; Africanus ex Alexandra Polyhistorey hie 
ex Apollodoro ut videtur. Eodem Polyhistore ususfuerit 
yosephuSf etsi mentionem f otitis injicere omisit, Clemens 
Alexandrinus ob oculos habuit Jubam Mauritanium qui 
Berosi librum in Assyriis historiis excerpsisse videtur. 
Igitur quutn per tot manus migraverint quae ad nos 
perdurarunt fragmenta^ haud miraberis variis modis 
verba Berosi deformata esse, cavendumque ne Beroso 
imputemus quae sunt imputanda excerptoribusJ' 

" Fairly large fragments have been preserved, especially 
by JosephuS/ Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, Syncellus. 
But not one of them seems to have examined Berosus' 
original works. Syncellus has borrowed from Eusebius, 
or like Eusebius from Africanus, Africanus from Alexander 
Polyhistor^ and he apparently from Appolodorus. Josephus 
must have made use of the same Polyhistor^ although he has 
omitted to mention his authority. Clemens Alexandrinus 
had before him Juba, the Mauritanian, who seems to have 
quoted from the book of Berosus in his Assyrian histories. 
As, therefore, the fragments which survive have passed 
through so many hands, it is not to be wondered at that 
the words of Berosus have been mutilated in various 
ways, and care must be taken not to ascribe to Berosus 
what should be imputed to those who quote him."^ 

It also appears that from this particular Berosus a Sibylla 
Berosiana, who ranks far lower than the former, is to 
be distinguished. Upon this our authority speaks as 
follows : — 

** Dubium vix est, quin alium quandam Berosum Sibyllae 
patrem cum historico Justinus {cf. Justinus Martyr 
Cohort, c. 29) confuderit, Quem errorem facile excusa- 

C. Miiller, Fragmenia Bis/, Graec. II. p. 49S. 


vert's, si verum est, quod sane verisimillimum est, tpsum 
Berosum Sibyllae istius Berosianae in historiis suismemin- 
isse. Nam quae ex Sibylla narrat Alexander Polyhistor 
de turris Bahylonicae aedificio vix aliunde quam ex Nostri 
librispetita fuerint,** 

" There is scarcely any doubt that Justin has confounded 
with the historian some other Berosus, the father of Sibylla. 
This error can easily be excused, if it be true, as seems 
indeed most probable, that Berosus himself has in his 
history made mention of that Sibylla, daughter of Berosus. 
What Alexander Polyhistor borrows from Sibylla, concern- 
ing the building of the Tower of Babylon, could scarcely 
have been collected from other sources than the books of 
our Berosus."* 

Much more severely does M, von Niebuhr express 
himself : — *' The extract concerning the Sibyl of the Tower 
ought to be strictly separated from those taken from 
Berosus, since it is not cited as a Berosian one. Nor 
should we allow ourselves to be deceived when Moses 
Chorenensis says, whilst quoting a similar passage, that 
the same is to be found in the Berosian Sibyl. Besides 
the confused legends, which connect Berosus with a 
Sibyl, there is no indication that the so-called Chaldean 
had any other than a Jewish origin." * 

Now amongst the fragments which originate from the 
genuine Berosus, there is one in particular that must 
attract our attention. It is preserved for us in a two-fold, 
but somewhat contradictory, form, first in the Armenian 
translation of Eusebius, and again in Syncellus. I quote 
here the passage in question as given in Petermann's 
translation ®: — 

" From Xisuthros and from the Deluge and until 
the Mareans (Medians) took Babylonia, Polyhistor 

* M. von Niebuhr, Geschichte Assurs, p. 470. 

* Ibid. pp. 491-494. 


Counts on the whole 86 kings, and makes mention of every 
one by name from the works of BeroSuSy and the years 
of all these kings he comprises in a period of 33,091 
years. After these kings, according to those writers^ 
the Medians, as they were so powerful, collected an army 
against Babylon, in order to capture it, and to set up 
as rulers tyrants of their own* Then he determines 
also the names of the Median tyrants numbering 8 and 

their years 224, and again 11 kings and years 

4, then also the tyrants of the Chaldeans, 49 kings and 
458 years."* 

The author mentioned by Syncellus differs from this on 
several essential points. While there are 49 Chaldean 
kings according to Eusebius, Syncellus only mentions two 
of them and names 84 Median kings, then Zoroaster and 
7 Chaldean kings. Hence M. C. Miiller says: — 

" Qui apud Eusebium ponuntur octo tyranni Medi, 
numero respondent Zoroastro ejusque successoribus septem.^' 

** The eight tyrants found in Eusebius answer in 
number to Zoroaster and his seven successors." 

The number of years, however, does not correspond. 
Syncellus assigns to his Medians only 190 years, while 
Eusebius gives 224 to his eight Median kings. On this 
point M. von Niebuhr remarks as follows^: — *' As regards 
the statement of Syncellus, that Polyhistor has called only 
the two first kings Chaldean and the remaining 84 
Medians, the version of Eusebius is clearly the genuine 
one. Syncellus has evidently not transcribed from Euse- 
bius, but from another chronographer, probably Africanus. 
The author may, like Syncellus, have passed over the 
second dynasty — Syncellus in that passage mentions 

- -- — — • — -— —^ _^^^_ 

* The italicized words are not those of Berosus, but of 
Eusebius. They are given in Klammer as additions of the 

■ Cf. Muller, Hist. Graec. Fr. IL p. 503. 


the first dynasty as being followed by Zoroaster and 
a Chaldean dynasty — and may have brought the Me- 
dians into the first dynasty in the place of the 84 kings 
whose names Eusebius has not given. However^ this 
author, mentioned by Syncellus, may also have been 
honesti (which we would so much the more willingly 
believe, as he could scarcely have been anybody else 
than Africanus)^ and the Medians may have originated 
merely in a misunderstanding.'' Further on M. von 
Niebuhr says regarding the reciprocal relation of the two 
accounts': — ** Evidently he (Syncellus) also admits in the 
place of the second Median dynasty of Berosus his 84 
Median kings of the first dynasty, and Zoroaster and his 
second dynasty of 7 Chaldean kings with 190 years' 
interval^ in the abovementioned passage^ in the place 
of the third and fourth dynasties of Berosus." This view 
appears to me^ likewise, the most probable ; yet there is 
no doubt, that we can also understand this matter, as 
M. C. Miiller, in the passage quoted above, and after 
him Dr. Rapp' have done^ viz,, that Zoroaster and the 
7 Chaldean kings stand in the place of the 8 Medians 
of Eusebius. As we have nothing to do with Babylonian 
history, this question has little importance for us. What 
principally interests us is the name Zoroaster; no 
matter whether Berosus meant by it a Median or a 
Babylonian king. It is proved at all events that the 
name Zoroaster already occurred at a very early period, 
and certainly in Media itself or westward of Media. 

But the question now arises, whether we have a right 
to affirm that Berosus has mentioned the name Zoroaster. 
M. von Niebuhr believes, that Berosus has not done so, 
but I see no ground at all for this assumption. On the 
contrary, it appears to me quite possible that Africanus 

* Vide Miiller, His/. Graec. Fr. II. p. 493. 
' Rapp, ZddmG. vol. XIX. p. 28. 



(or whoever else may have been the chronographer 
consulted by Syncellus) found the name Zoroaster in his 
evidently very hasty review of the notices of Berosus, 
introducing the same in his report, since Eusebius 
explicitly remarks, that Berosus has given the names of 
the Median kings. This is my principal ground for 
regarding the Zoroaster mentioned here as a Median, 
because it is nowhere stated that Berosus has also given 
the names of the Chaldean kings. On the contrary, 
this Median king, likewise the founder of the Iranian 
religion, named by Berosus^ need not necessarily have 
been any other than the Bactrian king of the same name 
mentioned by Ktesias. In opposition to Berosus, the Bero- 
sian Sibyl, referred to by Moses of Khorni, actually places 
Zoroaster in Bactria, but it has been already remarked, 
that very little importance should be attached to that 

The remaining accounts by Western writers of the native 
country of Zoroaster may be briefly mentioned. The Greek 
writer Clemens Alexandrinus calls Zoroaster sometimes 
a Persian and sometimes a Mede, whilst Suidas calls him a 
Perso-Median. The Armenian Moses of Khorni, who 
has chiefly consulted Greek writers in his historical works, 
makes him a contemporary of Semiramis, and calls him 
** the Magus and sovereign of the Medes." * According to 
his statement, Semiramis is said to have appointed him a 
satrap (governor) over Nineveh and Assyria; later on 
they became enemies and Semiramis was obliged to flee 
from him to Armenia, where she was plundered and 
killed by one Ninyas of the Empire. Yet, in another 
passage, Moses corrects the Berosian Sibyl and observes 
that Zoroaster was not a king of Bactria, but of Media. 
According to the statements of Pliny the Elder, who must 
have obtained his materials from Hermippus, we should 

* Mos. Khor. I. p. 87. 


search for Zoroaster's native country still further West, 
that is, in Prokonnesos. An account, which is handed 
down to us by Clemens Alexandrinus, mentions Zoroaster 
as having been born in Pamphylia, and says that he was 
identical with Her, the son of Arminius. 

This much will be clear from these statements, viz,y 

that even with the help of the ancients we cannot arrive 

at a certain knowledge of the native land of Zoroaster. 

If we now turn to the accounts furnished by Oriental 

writers, we indeed find in them greater harmony, but 

scarcely any historical facts. They unanimously place the 

native land of Zoroaster in Western Iran ; but most of them 

state that he had worked at least for some time in Bactria. 

From the searching inquiries which M. Windischmann 

has devoted to this subject/ it follows that Zoroaster is 

often called in the Avesta ''the renowned in Aryana- 

vaija " ; according to another idea, it is even said that he was 

in the celebrated Aryana-vaija. The dwelling of Pouru- 

shaspa, the father of Zoroaster, was situated, according to 

Vendidad, XIX. 15, near ^^ drejya paiti zbarahV^ 

(zbarahi)^ and we shall hereafter find that it cannot be 

at all doubted that this designation also may denote 

Aryana-vaija^ for, according to Yt. V. 104, IX. 25, 

XVII. 45, the Prophet there offers sacrifices to several 

yasatas. In the passage. Ys. XIX. 51, 52, Zoroaster is 

mentioned in connection with the town of Ragka (in 

Media) ; however, it should not be hence inferred that he 

was also born there. 

The Bundehesh expresses itself more unequivocally than 
the Avesta. It asserts that Zoroaster was born near the 
river Darja (51, 3; 79, 9) and this river is situated 
(53. S) i^ Aryana-vaija. In a passage further on 
(58, s) ^^'s river is the largest of the Bira rivers; 
I conjecture that by B4ra may be here understood 

* Windischmann, Zor. Studien^ p. 47, 


the same as by zbdra in the Vendidad. Further on, 
again, the Bundehesh (70, 8) informs us that Aryan a- 
vaija lies southward of Atropatene, and may thus well be 
the territory which the medieval geographers call Arran,^ 
and which extends as far as the country of Tiflis. Taking 
this position into consideration, the Huzvaresh Commentary 
to Vd. I. 60 evidently explains Ragha by Atropatene, 
but admits that others understand under that name Rai, 
where Zoroaster probably dwelt for some time. Yaqut, 
like Abulfeda, points to the town of Urumia as the 
birth-place of Zoroaster. Two less-known Mahomedan 
historians, who are quoted by Hyde (Hist, Vet, 
Pers, p. 318, ed. 2nd), adduce the so-called authority of 
Tabari to prove that Zoroaster was born in the land of 
the Philistines. One calls him a disciple of Esra, the 

other of Jeremiah If we now collect the results of all 

these conflicting statements, we can arrive at no certainty 
as regards the native land of Zoroaster ; the majority of 
writers endeavour, however, to place it altogether in the 
West, and not in the East. 

After disposing of these preliminary questions, we now 
turn to the history of the life of Zoroaster himself. 
Nobody will be surprised to find that the narrative of the 
life of a man, whose age and native land cannot be 
ascertained, is very legendary. For most of the legends 
even a foundation is wanting; most of them are to be 
traced to modern sources, and some of them even to very 
late writers. Neither the Avesta, nor antiquity, nor the 
Sassanian period, nor lastly Firdusi, has bequeathed to us a 
complete description of Zoroaster's career, and we are 
hence obliged to rely upon the more modern legends, and 
to point for greater confirmation to the isolated passages 
which have been preserved to us here and there in more 
ancient writings; e*g, in the Avesta.' The entirely 

* The principal authority for the circumstances of the life of 
Zoroaster is the Zariushi-name, the text of which was published 



legendary character of the narrative of Zoroaster's life 
may be perceived from the mere fact, that his biography 
does not begin with his birth, but actually long before it, 
.not only in the later legends but also in the Avesta itself. 
And it is true that this part of his life is not without 
importance. For the confessor of the Masdayasnan religion 
the birth and the works of Zoroaster are unqestionably the 
most important historical events. All the great exploits 
of the heroes of yore, of whom we have hitherto heard, 
have taken place mostly for this purpose, z//>., to help to 
diminish to such an extent the sum total of evil, as to allow 
the good event following to take place. So early as after the 
death of the Primitive Bull, to the Geu^-urva or Goshurun, 
that is, the *' Soul of the the Bull," (vide Eran Alterthums- 
iunde, vol. I. p. 510) is shown Zoroaster, and the hope is 
held out to it that the Prophet will appear in future on the 
earth. For it was not possible to make Zoroaster proclaim 
the Law at any time on earth. Only after the marks of the 
equipoise had come to rule, and the forces of the good and 
the evil principles were balanced, could it be ordained to 
send Zoroaster into this world. How important Zoroaster 
was to Ahura Mazda and His plans is also perceived 
from Yt. V. 17 

in lithograph at Bombay. I use the English translation of that 
book by Eastwick, which is found printed in the book of Dr. J. 
Wilson, '« The Parst Religion Unfolded,'' p. 477- ^ V^^ ^^ 
Zoroastre (Life of Zoroaster) is given by Anquetil {Zend Avest, L 
2, pp. 1-70), another by J. M^nant : Zoroastre^ Essai sur la philo- 
sophie religieuse de la Perse ("Essay on the Religious Philosophy 
of the Persians ") 2nd edition, Paris, 1857; both of these works 
are based on the above-named legend of Zoroaster. An un- 
finished sketch of the life of Zoroaster is given by Windischmann 
{Zoroasi, Siudien, pp. 44-56) and myself {Silzungsberichie der K. 
bayr. Academie der Wissensch. Jan. 1867). A life of Zoroaster 
by Dastur Z. Behram (Bombay 1864), in Gujerati, is a translation 
of the Zarlushi-name with some annotations [by Dastur Peshotanji 
Behram ji Sanjana.] 



The family from which a personage like Zoroaster 
springs is of no less importance than the circumstances of 
his birth. As we shall shortly observe, Zoroaster is of 
kingly descent, and has, therefore, every right to be 
celebrated in the Iranian hero-legends, for, from his 
birth, he stands second to none of the early heroes of 
royal lineage; and a hero too he is, though of a different 
kind from his predecessors, but not, therefore, of lesser 
importance, since his agency is spiritual. To these heroic 
attributes we have to ascribe the fact that, according 
to Yt, XVII. 17-20,^ Angro Manyu runs away at his 
birth, and acknowledges that none of the yazatas have 
the power to supplant him, save Zoroaster alone, who 
smites him with the Ahuna-vairya as his weapon. Hence 
his father Pourushaspa, according to Ys. IX. 42, is 
named together with such great heroes as Yima^ Athwya 
and Kereshdspa^ for the heroes already named and 
others have only taken the lives of some of the evil 

* Ashi Vanguhi spoke thus : — •• Who art thou who dost invoke 
me, whose voice is to my ear the sweetest of all that invoke me 

"And Zarthushtra said aloud 1 'I am Spitama Zarathustra, 
who, first of mortals, recited the praise of the excellent Asha and 
offered up sacrifice unto Ahura Mazda and the Amesha-Spentas ; 
in whose birth and growth the waters and the plants rejoiced ; in 
whose birth and growth the waters and the plants grew ; in whose 
birth and growth all the creatures of the good creation cried out, 
Hail 1' 

' In whose birth and growth Angra Mainyu rushed away from 
this wide, round earth, whose ends lie afar, and he, the evil-doing 
Angra Mainyu, who is all death, said : — All the gods together 
have not been able to smite me down in spite of myself, and 
Zarathushtra alone can reach me in spite of myself. He smites 
me with the Ahuna Vairya, as strong a weapon as a stone big as a 
house ; he bums me with Asha-Vahishta, as if it were melting 
brass. He makes it better for me that I should leave this earth, 
he, Spitama Zarathustra, the only one who can daunt me.' " Vide 


monsters. But Zoroaster has, by the promulgation of the 
Law, brought it to pass, that all those demons, who, at an 
earlier period, had been roving bodily about this world, had 
to hide themselves together under the earth. The 
Huzvaresh Commentary says in Ys. IX. 46: — 

'' He broke the body of everyone who could make his 
body invisible; whoever could not do this, broke it himself. 
— The breaking of the body implies the fact that no more 
sin can be henceforward committed in the body of a demon, 
though in the body of a beast or of a man such beings 
are still able to commit sin" 

After this it may be said that Zoroaster marks the 
close of the mythical age. For, since he came into this 
world, the appearance of demons with supernatural bodies 
and powers is no more possible ; thus, therefore, ends 
the necessity for the heavenly powers to develop such 
special strength; the world may follow its regular 
course. These remarks sufficiently show 
what an important personage Zoroaster 
is, and that the race may be deemed highly 
respectable which is entitled to count him 
amongst its members. We also know that his 
father Pourushaspa was allowed to enjoy the honour 
of being called the father of Zoroaster for this special 
reason that he belonged to the most zealous adorers 
of Haoma. Besides this, the Zartusht-ndme traces the 
descent of Zoroaster from Faridun. We know, however, 
that from this king not only Eraj, but also Selam and 
Tiir together with their descendants derived their origin, 
so that this lineage is in itself not specially significant. 
Of greater importance is the fact that Zoroaster's descent 
is not merely traced from Faridun, but also from Manush- 
chehr ; he, therefore, indisputably belongs through this 
extraction to the royal family of Iran. The genealogical 
table is given us in the Bundehesh (79, 5), and in 
a later prayer called the Dhup-nireng or Fumigation- 



prayer, and lastly by Masudi. According to these sources, 
the genealogical table may be exhibited in the following 
manner: — 







r Ot^^) 






Raj an 




















Harsh n 



(yA^jl ) 





(-^5'^ ) 




















^ ^^^m^0 m ^^%^m 

\ J I 









' [This genealogy is somewhat differently given in the Dinkard, 
bk. VII., as well as in the text of the Vajarkardt'dini (pp. 28, 29) 
published by Dastur Peshotanji Behramji Sanjana in 1848 (Cf. 
«• Pahlavi Texts," part I. p. 14 1, by Dr. West):— 

<<Porushasp son of Paltiritrasp, son of Uru- 
gadasp (Urvadasp), Haechadasp, Chikhsh- 
nush, Paetrip (Paretirasp), Arejadarshne 
(Hardarshn), Hardar, Spitaman, Vaedeshta, 
Nyazem, Airij (Razishn), Durasroban, Ma- 
nushchihr ruler of Iran, Manushkhurnar, Ma- 
nushkhurnak, Neryosang, Varzidedin, Vizak, 
VOL. II. z 



Whilst the first row from Zoroaster to Manoschihr 
counts 13 membersi the second one represents 14, the name 
Orouedasp {Aurvat-aspa) being there inserted. We also 
observe that the second row contains the name Peterasp 
twice, once in the usual place corresponding with that 
which it holds in the Bundehesh, and the second time 
immediately before Purushaspa in the place where the 
Bundehesh reads Spitarasp ; the latter reading may be the 
correct one. Masudi agrees with the second table. M. 
Windischmann has already proved that the Avesta gives to 
Zoroaster the same line of ancestors. It is true that, 
though not all, yet several names of the ancestors do 
occur, most frequently Spitama^ next Chakhshni (Yt. 
XIII. 114), Haechat-aspa (Ys. LII. 3), while Pburushaspa 
also is frequently called the father of Zoroaster. We 
can here even point out^ as far as is needful, his 
collateral relations. The Bundehesh informs us (79, 8) 
that Paitirasp or Spitarasp had two sons — the one was 
Pourushasp, the father of Zoroaster, the second was 
£rasta from whom a son Maidhydmfth descended, and this 
account is confirmed by Yt. XIII. 95, where we find mention 
made of Maidhytmah^ son of Ardsta. The mother of 
Zoroaster, according to the Bundehesh and the Zartusht- 
name, is named Dughdha,^ and her parents, according 
to the book first-named, Frahi and Mrava, names which 

Airyftk, Ithritak, Ibitak, Frazishak, Zlshak,. 
Frasizak, Izak, Airij, Faredun lord of Qa- 
niras, Purtor& Aspig&n, Nevaktora Aspigan, 
Sogtora Aspigan, Gefartora Aspigftn, Vanoi- 
fravashn Aspigan, Yima lord of the seven 
regions, &c." Tr ,n^ 

* [This name is written somewhat differently in the Dinkard^ 
bk. VII: — Va ajash go/i Porushasp val Dugduban^ '* And so 
Forushasp said unto Dukduian." Tr, n,] 


are not to be found again in the Avesta, By this genealogy 
the royal descent of Zoroaster is at all events established 
beyond question. 

Not merely a kingly, but to a certain extent a divine, 
origin is ascribed to 2!oroaster in an account which we 
find in Shahrastani.^ God^ as it is therein said, had placed 
the spirit (the /rdhar or /ravashi) of Zoroaster in a tree 
[Haoma F), which He had caused to grow on the uppermost 
heaven, and which He afterwards transplanted to the 
summit of a mountain in Adarbaijan, which is called 
Ismuvicar.^ There, it is also said, God had mixed the 
personality (here the frohar is likely again meant) of 
Zoroaster with the milk of a cow, which the father of 
Zoroaster had drunk ; out of this was afterwards formed 
the seed, and then a piece of flesh in the womb 
of Zoroaster's mother.' Be that as it may, the legend 
affirms that the importance ol her son was previously 
announced to the mother in a dream, a circumstance 
which we have often noticed in the Iranian traditions. 
When Dughda was in the fifth month of her pregnancy, 
she saw a terrible apparition in her dream. It appeared 
to her as if a thick cloud was raining on her house tigers, 
lions, wolves, dragons, serpents, and other noxious beasts, 
and amongst these wild animals one, that was larger 
and more frightful than the rest, appeared as if it were 
tearing the child out of her womb in order to kill it. 
While the mother gazes on this scene in great 
amazement, her child raises its voice to console her: 
demons of the above description are unable to injure it. 

' Vol. I. 381 of Haarbrucker's Translation. 

* I consider the name Ismuvicir to be erroneously written for a 
more ancient Asnavandgar, and believe that the Savelan is here 

' [Similar facts relating to Zoroaster's miraculous birth are 
also narrated in the Dinkard,'] 



Indeed, its words have scarcely ended, when a mountain of 
light is seen descending from heaven, before which a large 
number of the creatures of darkness at once take to flight. 
As the light draws nearer, there issues out of it a handsome 
youth, who holds a staff in his left hand, and a manuscript 
in his right At the sight of this manuscript the infernal 
beings still remaining withdraw with the exception of three — 
a wolf, a lion, and a panther ; at last even they cannot hold 
their ground as soon as the youth inclines his rod towards 
them. When Dughda awakes, she hastens in confusion to 
a wise interpreter of dreams, who is, however, unable to 
expound at once her wonderful vision, and therefore tells 
her to return to him within three days. When she calls 
upon him again at the appointed time, he communicates 
to her that the child, with which she has been pregnant 
for 5 months and 23 days, will turn out a man of great 
consequence. The dark cloud and the mountain of light, 
which had appeared to her in the dream, signify that she 
and her son will have to endure at first much calamity from 
tyrants and similar wicked beings, but that they will 
overcome all dangers in the end. The staff which the 
youth held in his hand signified the Majesty of God, that 
turned against the oppressors. The manuscript in the 
other hand was the symbol of the prophetic dignity which 
would fall to the lot of her son. The three beasts that 
remained were the three most implacable enemies of 
Zoroaster, yet even they would finally have to give way. 

The early life of the Iranian Prophet also consists of a 
series of wonders. When Zoroaster was born, a time at 
which other children are wont to cry, he laughed,^ and by 

* [Compare the Dinkard, bk. VII. 

Aevak ae pe/ak aighash (Zariuhsht) pavan zarkhunashne Sara 
kkandid: ** It is also manifest (from the good religion) that he 
(Zoroaster) laughed at his birth." — TV. n,"] 


-■- - - m - '^ T _L_tB_ii - ■ 

fiuch extraordinary behaviour drew at once upon him the 
attention of the whole district. Such is ih^Jirst marvel in 
his history. The demons, who naturally knew very well 
the object of Zoroaster's mission, and who, in order to 
thwart it, endeavoured to destroy the author of their fear, 
employed every means to annihilate him, and more than 
once opportunity seemed to favour them. The province, in 
which Zoroaster was born, belonged to a king Duransariin^ 
of whom we know not whether he was identical with the 
Durasrun mentioned above in the table of Zoroaster's 
genealogy. This king was an unbeliever and the chief of 
all vicious magicians {yaiu)^ for every one then .dealt in 
magic according to the statement of the Zartusht-ndme. 
The powers of darkness often carried on intercourse with 
men, and confirmed them in their wicked purposes i even 
the father of Zoroaster did not hold himself entirely aloof 
from such dealings.^ Now, when Duransarun heard of 
Zoroaster's birth, and feared that the power of sorcery might 
come to an end if the child grew up to strength, he speedily 
hastened towards the dwelling of Pourushaspa, where 
he found the child lying in its cradle. Fiercely he drew 
his poniard to murder the child, but before he could inflict 
the fatal blow his hand was paralyzed, and he was com- 
pelled to withdraw without having effected his object* 
Such was the second wonder^ The evil spirits, however, 
did not yet abandon their game so tamely ; they long hoped 
that their evil designs might prevail in the end. They soon 
formed a design for stealing the child from his mother, and 
brought Zoroaster into the desert, where they piled up a 
heap of burning materials around him and set them on 
fire. Thus they confidently expected to annihilate him, 
but they were again deceived; the child slept calmly 

^ Especially according to the legend extant. But Dastur 
Peshotonji Behramji here justly remarks that the Avesta itself does 
not support that opinion. 


in the fire, and the mother hastening into the desert in 
search of her lost child found him again. This is the 
third wonder* Not long after this vain attempt, the 
sorcerers made a fresh effort. By the command of 
DurSnsariin they took the child and laid it on a narrow 
path, over which had to pass a herd of oxen under whose 
feet they hoped that it would be trampled to death; but, 
when the herd approached, the largest of the bulls took 
the child between his feet, and prevented any injury 
being done to it. This is the fourth wonder. The fifth 
wonder is really a mere repetition of the preceding. What 
the oxen had refused to do, was tried again with horses. 
The child was, therefore, again laid on a narrow path and 
a herd of wild horses driven over it, but this time a horse 
protected the child from the hoofs of the others. Next, 
as domestic animals could not be made to do any harm to 
Zoroaster, Duransariln strove to do so by means of 
wild beasts. He ordered a den of wolves to be discovered, 
and the young ones thereof to be slain during the 
absence of the old ones, and Zoroaster was laid in their 
place in the hope that the old wolves might in their first 
fury tear the child to pieces. These children of darkness 
did, indeed, show a great inclination to do so, but God 
closed their jaws, so that they could not hurt the child* 
On the contrary, there came two celestial cows which 
gave their udders to the child and suckled it. Such 
was the sixth wonder through which the life of Zoroaster 
was preserved. ^ 

After these fruitless endeavours all plans to destroy 
Zoroaster's life had to be given up as hopeless. The latter 
now gradually grew up in age, and his father found it 
necessary to have him educated. He selected as teacher 
a man who led a pious life in the midst of magicians and 
whose name was Barzinkariis. When Zoroaster was 

Vide the Dinkard, bk. VII. 



seven years old, the sorcerers made a fresh attempt against 
him. They hoped that he would not be insensible at 
least to fears and terrors ; and, therefore, they, by means 
of hellish witchcraft, brought forth terrible apparitions, 
at which all were startled and took to flight, with the 
exception of Zoroaster, who remained perfectly calm in his 
firm confidence in the protecting power of God. Thus 
he also passed through this trial, which is usually reckoned 
as the seventh wonder. Not long after this Zoroaster fell 
sick, and now the magicians hoped to destroy him. In- 
stead of medicine they brought him some drink prepared 
from poisonous drugs ; but Zoroaster immediately detecting 
its dangerous nature rejected it, and was again preserved. 
This may be regarded as the eighth wonder. It may 
have been in the fifteenth year of Zoroaster's life, that his 
father gave a sumptuous banquet at his house to which King 
Duransarun and Burantariis, the most noted magician of 
the time, were also invited. Here Zoroaster took the 
opportunity of openly expressing his hatred of magic, and 
of proclaiming war against it. Henceforth the magicians 
trembled in his presence, and watched him attentively. 
His further deeds are, however, not handed down to us; 
still it is self-evident that his life was entirely blameless. 
It is only said that the [>eriod of his trials lasted up to his 
thirtieth year, after which his piety began to bring 
forth fruit. 

Of all the wonderful incidents which are recounted in 
the legend drawn from the history of Zoroaster's youth, 
we are able to quote only for one the evidence of 
earlier antiquity, namely, the circumstance that Zoroaster 
laughed at his birth, which is related already by Plinius 
and Solinus.^ By this it is not naturally proved that all 

* Plinius, Hist* nat, VIL 16:—" Risisseeodem die, quo genitus 
essetf unum hominem accepimus Zoroastreni' Eidem cerebrum ita 
palpitasse ui impositam repelleret manum^ futurae praesagio sapien* 


the rest of the wonders were also known to the ancients; 
however, it is at least probable that such may have been 
the case with one or the other of them. The Avesta 
relates very little concerning the history of Zoroaster's 
youth. It is true M. Anquetil affirms that he has found in 
Ys. XLII. 8 an allusion to the hardships endured by the 
Prophet in his younger days; but we believe that the 
passage referred to should be understood differently. So 
also with regard to the t9th chapter of the Vendidad, which 
could here be cited with much probability, but which we 
would rather appeal to for another and later exploits 
The later narratives of Mahomedans show a partial know- 
ledge of these events ; thus the writer Shahrastani, already 
quoted, who has related the previous wonders of the horses 
and the wolves, also asserts that Zoroaster cured a blind 
person in Dinaver by means of a herb which he caused to 
be pressed upon the eyes of the patient* The laughing at 
the time of birth was likewise known to Shahrastani as 
well as to the historian Mirkhond ; the latter also knew of 
the wonderful dream which had visited Zoroaster's mother. 
Finally, a passage in a scholion to Plato's '^ Alcibiades," ^ 
ipakes it very probable that the importance of the numbers 
seven, fifteen, and thirty in the history of Zoroaster's youth 
was recognized even in ancient times. 

We now turn to the continuation of Zoroaster's biogra* 

iiae.^^ ''Zoroaster is the "Only man of whom we have heard 
that he laughed on the very day of his birth* His brain also is 
said to have throbbed so violently that no hand could be laid 
upon his head— a presage of future wisdom." Similarly Solinus, 
c L: ^* Itaque unum novimus eadem hora risisse, qua erat 
natus, scilicet Zoroastrem max optimarum artium peritissimum," 
** And so we know that one man laughed at the very hour in 
which he was bom, namely, Zoroaster, afterwards most highly 
skilled in the best arts.'' 

* For the passage referred to, vide Windischmann, Zorasl. 
Studien, p. 27S> note* 


phy after his thirtieth year, and to his real prophetic 
career. But here our legend appears to be somewhat 
incomplete. It is manifestly concerned only with the 
work of Zoroaster in Bactria, and is silent concerning his 
activity in other parts. At this point the Bundehesh 
(79i ^Oi expressly tells us that Zoroaster promulgated 
his religion first of all in Aryana-vaija, and hence it 
becomes still more probable that, according to the view of 
the Avesta-followers, we should look in that country for 
the birth-place of Zoroaster ; for, if he had been born in 
Urumia or even in some other region, we should have 
been told that the Prophet had travelled to Aryana-vaija. 
Of an immigration to Aryana-vaija the narrative knows 
nothing, while it probably speaks of an . emigration from 
that country. The Bundehesh further relates that the 
first man, who accepted the Law of Zoroaster, was his 
uncle Maidhyomao^^ and this statement is also confirmed 
by the Avesta (Yt. XIII. 95). In other respects, however, 
we may presume that his doctrine did not find any great 
sympathy in Aryana-vaija, since he determined to 
emigrate with his true adherents. This removal is now 
described more in detail by the legend, according to which 
Zoroaster and his followers^ after having travelled for some 
time, came to a sea which had to be crossed ; but no vessel 
could be found anywhere, and Zoroaster thought it indecent 
that his companions, amongst whom there were also femal^es, 
should undress themselves. A miracle helped to overcohie 
this difficulty. As Zoroaster stretched forth his hands in 
prayer the water divided of itself, and the faithful marched 
through it dry-shod. MM. Anquetil and M^nant believe 
the sea here alluded to to be the Araxes, and this is quite 
possible, assuming, as is indeed the case, that large rivers 

* Fo ' paoiryo • Zarathmhirai • mdthremcha • gush/a sastiaoscha, 
" who first listened unto the Sacred Word and Teaching of Zara- 



in the Iranian country are described as seas. We, however, 
prefer to understand thereby Lake Sevan, that is, in 
case this expedition of the legend should prove to be an 
old one, for which there is no particular evidence yet 
available. Even after the sea abovenamed was crossed 
Zoroaster and his followers did not yet find themselves 
within the limits of Iran ; he still marched onward for the 
whole month of Spandarmat, the last month of the year, and 
first reached the Iranian borders on the day of An6ran, the 
last day of the aforesaid month. There a festival was 
being celebrated at the very time, and Zoroaster was 
amongst the partakers in the feast. M. Anquetil believes 
this festival to have been that of Farvardyan; but that 
festival is an institution of Zoroaster^ and we are unable to 
believe that it could have been already solemnized by the 
Iranians before they professed the Mazdayasnan religion. 
I believe, therefore, with M. Menant, that the New- Year 
Festival is the one referred to. 

During the night after this feast Zoroaster had a dream 
full of the most auspicious intimations of his future success 
in Iran. It appeared to him as though he saw in the East 
a countless host moving towards him with hostile intent. 
It surrounded him on all sides, and did not leave him any 
room for escape. Then suddenly another army appeared 
coming from the South, which put the eastern one to flight. 
The interpretation of this dream is tolerably simple : the 
magicians and the followers of the Agro Mainyu will take 
all pains to hinder the dissemination of Zoroaster's 
doctrine ; but the latter will triumphantly overcome all 
obstacles. Only, it is striking that the relieving army 
appears from the South, since the South is, according to 
the general notion of the Iranians, a region which pertains 
to the evil beings. Should this portion of the legend be 
ancient, the friendly army must have been regarded in 
the earlier ages as having come from the West. At the 
close of the festival Zoroaster continued his march, and 



came again to a large river, the Daitya, on the day Dai-pa^ 
mihr after the beginning of the year. This name does not 
in any case designate the Caspian Sea as M. Anquetil 
supposes, but the Araxes or Kur.* It must, therefore, be 
assumed that a part of the country on the left bank of 
that river was at an early period regarded as belonging to 
Iran, because Zoroaster found himself already within the 
limits of that country when he had reached the banks of 
the Daitya. But, perhaps, the crossing of the Daitya is 
wholly to be omitted in the passage in question, and this 
river is identical with that sea of whose miraculous crossing 
we have already heard. 

Now, on the soil of Iran, begins the real prophetic 
career of Zoroaster, his communion with heaven, and the 
revelations imparted to him. There appears to him the 
Ameshaspend Vohu-mano who introduces him to Ahura 
Mazda, from Whom Zoroaster obtains permission to 
submit certain questions. The first question which is put 
by Zoroaster is: ^ Which of God's creatures is the best on 
earth ?^ Whereto he receives the answer : ' He is the best 
of all men who is pure of heart. ^ Then he inquires about 
the names and duties of the angels, about the nature of 
Agro Mainyu, which evil spirit is then shown to him in hell, 
and is reported to have spoken on that occasion the words 
contained in Vd. XIX. 21.* Thereupon Zoroaster is 
favoured by God with various miraculous signs. He sees 
a fiery mountain and is commanded to pass through the 
fire. He does so and suffers not the slightest hurt 
thereby, not a hair of his head is singed. After this his 
body is opened and the entrails taken out ; these are 
then replaced in the body which is again closed and Zoro- 
aster is alive as before [?]. At last melted ore is poured 

* Vide Justi, Beiirdge I, 12. 18. 2, 22 and Eran, AUerihums. 

bk. I. p. 200. 

• ''Do not slay my (wicked) creatures, pure Zarathushtra I " 


over his breast without his feeling any pain. Zoroaster 
forthwith learns the allegorical import of these acts. He 
is enjoined to explain to men that those who turn towards 
Ahriman (Agro Mainyu), must wander in a fire as large as 
the one through which he himself has passed, that just 
as his body was opened so also will streams of blood flow 
from their bodies. That melted ore was poured on 
Zoroaster's breast without his being injured by it is said to 
have been a prophecy respecting Aderbat Mahrespand, 
on whom the same trial was inflicted without his thereby 
suflFering any injury. 

After this Zoroaster receives the Avesta from God, 
with His order to go to the court of king Vishtaspa 
(Gushtasp), and to proclaim it there. When Zoroaster 
receives God's permisson to depart, the different Ame- 
shaspends approach him in order to communicate their 
respective counsels. These are the same commands and 
prohibitions as are also given in the Rivaiets and Pateis. 
Vohu-man5 commands him to bid mankind take great care 
of domestic animals and especially not to kill lambs without 
any need. Asha-vahishta recommends the tending of the 
fire and fire-altars. Khshathra-vairya orders the care of 
metals, lest they grow rusty. Spenta-&rmaiti forbids the 
pollution of the earth with blood and other impure sub- 
stances, and recommends on the contrary its cultivation. 
Haurvatat entrusts Zoroaster and his adherents with the 
care of water, Ameretat with that of plants and trees. 

No point in Zoroastrian legend can be better attested 
from ancient sources than the dialogues between Zoroaster 
and Ahura Mazda. One of the principal passages is 
Ys. XIII. 20, where mention is expressly made of their 
meetings; in other places it is only hinted that Ahura Mazda 
announced certain doctrines to Zoroaster, which the latter 
proclaimed to the rest of men, (vide Vsp. II. 3, XIII. 2, 
Ys. LXX. 65). Properly speaking, the whole Avesta is a 
proof of this statement, for it is therein mentioned, in 


connection with any matter in any way important, how 
Zoroaster questioned Ahura Mazda upon it, and what 
precise answer he received in return. From the Gathas 
I might here cite Ys, XLII., XLIII.^ where Zoroaster is 
represented in converse with Ahura Mazda.^ According 
to the Zartusht-ndme^ the conferences took place in 
Heaven — ^hence in the Garontn&na — but M. Anquetil has 
already pointed to Vd. XXII. 53, as if their conversations 
had been held upon a mountain. The same is also 
reported by later writers, and among others by Mir- 
khond,^ who says that Zoroaster retired to a mountain 
in the vicinity of Ardebil, from which place he returned 
with the Avesta. This mountain seems to be the 
Savelon.' Of the retreat of Zoroaster into solitude the 
ancients also had some knowledge to record; they even 
admit his sojourn upon a mountain,^ which is said to have 
afterwards burst into flames, and whither the king of 
Persia approached with the most select portion of the 
Persian nobility ; but Zoroaster came out of this fire unhurt^ 
and gracefully conversed with those people, and enjoined 
them to be of good cheer, and to make certain offerings. 
Thenceforth he did not hold further communication 
with the people, but only with those who were most 
susceptible of truth and competent to deal with questions 
regarding the Deity. The statements of other ancient 

^ Dastur Peshotonji Behramji refers to the passage Ys. XLII. 7, 
as treating of the conference of Zoroaster with Vohu-mano before 
his conversation with Ahura Mazda, 

* Vide p. 386 in Shea's Translation. 

* Vide Lagarde, Ges. Adkandlungen, p. 171. 

* Chrysost. Orat, Boryst, p. 448. [A Similar narrative is 
found besides in the Old Testament, £xodus> XIX. 3-18, where 
it is said that when *< Moses went down from the mount (Sinai) 

unto the people and it came to pass on the third day 

in the morning that there were thunders and lightnings, and 


chroniclers are of similar import.^ In them the legend of 
Zoroaster appears to be marred by a long hiatus; probably 
a multitude of deeds were related in earlier times, which 
Zoroaster was supposed to have accomplished in Media. 
The Zoroastrian legend^ as we possess it, even in its 
oldest form, is founded on the appearance of Zoroaster io 
Balkh at the court of Gushtasp, and passes over the former 
narratives as unimportant. 

When Zoroaster, holding the Sacred Volume {viz., the 
Avesta) in his hand, returns from his consultation with 
Ahura Mazda, the evil spirits and the sorcerers hazard yet 
one last attempt against him in order to divert him, if 
possible, from the right path. Now he is too^powerful to 
be defeated by them, nevertheless they beseech him to 
renounce the Avesta. Zoroaster listens to them with perfect 
contempt, and begins to recite the Avesta, whereupon 
the evil spirits are forced to fly and some of them are 
destroyed. This is, according to my view, the event 
alluded to in the 19th chapter of the Vendidad. According 
to the Zartusht-name, Zoroaster received the order while 
in heaven to present himself at the court of Gushtasp, 
whither he now departs after defeating the demons and the 
magicians. This order to go to the court of Gushtasp is 
also confirmed by the Avesta, as we may observe from 
Ys. XV. 14 ; but, according to Chaps. XLIV., XLV. of the 
same book, it appears as though Zoroaster had made an effort 
even at an earlier period in some other provinces of the 

a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet 

exceeding loud, and the mount Sinai was altogether on 

a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire."] 

* Plin, Hist. N. XI. 42, 97. " Tradunt Zoroastrem in desertis 
caseo vixisse annis XXX. ita temperato ut vetustatem non seniirtty 
*' They say that Zoroaster lived thirty years in the desert on cheese 
so preserved as not to feel the efiEect of time."— Plutarch, Quaesf. 
Symp, IV. I. p. 660. 


Iranian empire. With the Avesta we must also believe that 
Zoroaster had formed his resolution in Aryana-vaija to go 
to the court of king Vishtaspa, for it is shown by Yt, V. 104, 
105, that he had already offered sacrifices to Ardvi-sura in 
the same district to induce the latter to assist him in his 
alliance with Vishtaspa. Elsewhere also Vishtaspa and his 
whole family are well known to the Avesta, as M. Win- 
dischmann' has sufficiently proved. However, it does not 
altogether follow, that the legend always regarded Gushtasp 
as dwelling in Balkh. Hamza and Qazvini would rather 
place their meeting in Atropatene.^ Khondemir affirms that 
Gushtasp dwelt in Istakhr. The ordinary belief, however, 
is that Zoroaster repaired to Balkh, and that there he was 
received in a solemn council by Gushtasp.' The wise men 
who were present at the king's court endeavoured to refute 
him. Thirty on his right hand and thirty on his left were 
all compelled to withdraw in confusion^ and had to confess 
that a foreigner had conquered them in argument. This 
mental superiority disposed the king from the very begin« 
ning to favour the Prophet, and in consequence increased 
the envious desire of those who liad previously shone in 
court through their wisdom still to uphold their former posi- 
tion. But Zoroaster also proved victorious in the second 
and the third day's discourse. Now when none of the 
sages could maintain their ground against Zoroaster, 
the latter made himself known as a prophet ; the Avesta 
began to receive favour in the eyes of the king, and 
claimed acceptance. But the king, having listened to some 

• Zoroast. Studien^ P- 55- 

• Hamza, p. 36^ ed. Gottw. sa^'/i^ '^^^jj »^^' Qazvini 
II. 267 ed. WGstenf. 

• That Zoroaster entered by the roof into the council hall of 
Gushtasp in a supernatural manner is not mentioned by the 
Zariusht-name, but probably by Qazvini. Comp. also Hyde, 
Historia vet, Pers, p. 320, 2nd ed. 


portions of the Book, was not convinced as yet of the truth 
of its contents, and willing to consider the matter more 
maturely, he demanded that Zoroaster should remain at his 
court until further orders ; and the latter was content 
with this preliminary success. However, even at this court 
his persecutions were not at an end. The wise men, 
once so highly esteemed, could not console themselves in 
their discomfiture, and endeavoured to raise suspicions 
against the Prophet in the mind of the king. They bribed 
the porter of his house and (during his absence) dragged 
therein unclean things, such as heads of dogs, cats,^ 
&c., whilst they also concealed some under his clothes. 
Then they alleged before their king that Zoroaster was 
nothing better than an impure sorcerer. The king was very 
angry, when, on more minute inquiry, these impure things 
were found in Zoroaster's dwelling, and he ordered him 
to be imprisoned. The time had now come for the Prophet 
to prove his divine mission by a miracle. The king had 
a black horse which he used to ride almost always, and 
which was also very dear to him. When, after these 
events, the keeper entered the stall, he observed with 
terror that the horse had lost his four feet, which had ' gone 
back into the body[?].' He informed the king at once of 
this occurrence, and the latter having convinced himself 
of the truth of the report, called in all the wise men ; but 
they were unable either to advise or' to help. In the 
meantime Zoroaster lies in his prison, and knows nothing 
of these events ; but on this day of general distress the 
jailor forgets to bring him his dinner, which causes him in 
the evening to inquire what has taken place. As soon as 
he is made aware of the accident, he prevails upon the 
waiter to go the next morning before the king, and to 
announce to him that Zoroaster is ready to lielp under 
certain conditions. The king, who is helpless, suffers 
Zoroaster to be called, and inquires as to his conditions. 
The Prophet proposes four, so that on the fulfilment of 


each of them depends the re-appearance of one of the 
horse's feet The first condition is that Gushtasp shall 
firmly believe in the Prophet Zoroaster, and the divinity of 
his doctrine; as soon as this is done the first foot of the 
horse re-appears. The second condition is that Isfandiar,^ 
the son of Gushtasp, shall devote himself entirely to the 
defence of the Zoroastrian faith ; as soon as Isfandiar has 
given the necessary assurances the second foot also shows 
itself. The third condition is that the wife of Gushtasp 
shall also accept the Law ; this is at once proclaimed in 
the queen's chambers and she professes belief;* where- 
upon the third foot of the horse makes its appearance. 
Lastly, the fourth condition Zoroaster stipulates for on his 
own behalf ; the circumstances which led to his imprison- 
ment are to be minutely inquired into. This inquiry 
proves favourable to Zoroaster, for the door-keeper now 
confesses having been suborned by the Prophet's enemies to 
introduce the unclean things found in Zoroaster's house. 
The Prophet is forgiven, while the instigators are punished. 
Now the fourth foot of the horse also re-appears, and 
Zoroaster attains to merited reverence. 

The Mazdayasnan Law is now in such great honour with 
Gushtasp, that the king does nothing without consulting the 
Prophet. The miracle of the horse is also narrated by 

* The name Isfandiar is also not unknown to the A vesta, but it 
occurs there in its strictly altered form, Spentodata (Yt. XIII. L03). 

• In the Avesta also the wife of Vishiaspa appears as a patro- 
ness of Zoroaster. She is therein called Hutaosa, a name which 
might perhaps be compared with the Greek Aiossa. In Yt. IX. 
we find Zarathushtra praying that she may co-operate with liim in 
his meditation upon the Law. In Yt. XV. 53, she herself 
appears supplicating for the love of Vishiaspa. She must be 
identical with the Katayun of the Shah-name ; but as the whole of 
the latter narrative is based on a weak foundation, it is not impossible 
that the author of the Avesta, as the earlier one, should ascribe to 
her another origin, 

VOL. II. Z 2 


Shahrastani. Mirkhond^ relates it quite in the same man- 
ner, though more briefly. One day Gushtasp declares 
to his Prophet his intention of praying to God for four 
things : Firstly, that he may be shown the place which he 
will occupy in Paradise. Secondly, that his body may 
become invulnerable in war. Thirdly, that he may parti- 
cipate in the knowledge of all things which have already 
taken place or are yet to happen in the world. Fourthly 
and lastly, that his soul shall not be separated from his 
body until the resurrection. Zoroaster replies that those 
four requests may indeed be granted but not to one and 
the same person, that the king should, therefore, choose 
which of the four requests he would desire for his own 
person ; the three remaining wishes might be distributed 
amongst three different individuals. Gushtasp thereupon 
selects the first of the wishes for himself. There appear 
before him four existences of the spiritual world, Adar 
Khordad^ Adar Gushasp, and the two Ameshaspends, 
Bahman and Ardibihisht, They exhort the king not to 
fear; but the latter is so terrified by the appearance 
of the celestial beings, that he falls down from his 
throne, and cannot recover himself for a long time. 
Then Zoroaster performs the Darun-offering with wine, 
fragrant flowers, milk, and pomegranates. He gives 
some of the wine to Gushtasp to drink, who directly 
falls asleep and beholds in a dream Paradise and 
the place which is there destined for him. Peshotan 
receives the milk, and becomes thereby immortal. Jamasp 
receives the perfumes, and to his lot falls wisdom, which 
Gushtasp had before desired for himself. Finally, Zoroaster 
gives some grains of the pomegranate to Isfandiar, and his 

* Shahrastani, vol. I. p. 283 of the German translation, ^eaks 
only of the fore-feet of the horse, which again became free when 
Zoroaster was released from prison* Mirkhond (in Shea, p. 287) 
narrates the wonder as above, only more briefly. 


body becomes thereby invulnerable. By these successive 
miracles the belief of Gushtasp becomes more and more 
strengthened, and at this time the event narrated in Ys. IX. 
46 is said to have happened, nanvely^ the disappearance of 
the demons underground. At this time also Gushtasp is said 
to have erected the first fire-temple. Inconsistent as these 
legends do appear at the first glance, there is every proba- 
bility that they are in the main very ancient. We have 
previously had occasion to mention Peshotan as the spiritual 
guide of Isfandiar; as son of Vishlaspa and as immortal 
he is also known to the Bundehesh (p. 68}, The Shah- 
name also informs us that Isfandiar became invulnerable 
through Zoroaster, though in a somewhat different manner, 
by means of a chaia which he had received (Shah-name 
1^4)* J^masp is also represented in the Avesta as very 
wise. In the yamdsp-ndme, which, is certainJy modern, 
he appears, quite as in the Avesta, in the possessionof the 
knowledge of the past and of the future. The narrative 
of the erection of the fire- temple seems to follow the account 
given in the 17th chapter of the Bundeheshs. Even in 
the Book of Kings Dakiki also relates that Gushtasp 
erected a temple to the Fire Mehr^burzin ot Burzin-mehr,^ 
and that this fire has since burnt without smoke. It 
is this fire which we know from the Bundehesh to be the 
third of the holy fires, the fire of husbandmen; and it is 
said to have settled during Gushtasp's reign on the 
mountain Raevanta in Khorasan, after it had travelled 
throughout the world without any permanent resting-place. 
But, according to the same authority, the Fire Froba^ the 
Fire of priests, which had its temple until then on a moun- 
tain in Khuslrizm, is also said to have been brought thence 
into Kftbulistan. Shahrastani^ indeed differs here. He 

* Not to be confounded with the Fire Burzin, which was 
worshipped by Lohrasp. 

■ I. 299. On the other hand, Hamza says that Gushtasp built a 
city in the district of D§rabgerd, which he named ^^a^^j ^\j 


affirms that this Fire of Khuarizm was carried to Darabgerd 
in Persepolis. The transference of this Fire of the 
priesthood from West to East may perhaps not have been 
universally believed in Iran, but can only stand in connection 
with the Bactrian conception of the Zoroastrian legend 
which we have before us. As Zoroaster emigrated from his 
native country and met with a hospitable reception from 
Gushtasp, so also the Fire of the priests, who belonged tohim 
and from whom they had emanated, must have travelled 
with him towards the East. 

The Zartusht-name, our principal source of information 
for the history of Zoroaster, does not relate his biography, 
but the history of Gushtasp's conversion; it therefore 
breaks off at this point. We shall further on treat of the 
few chapters that still follow. Regarding the storys of 
miracles, which we have reported, we believe we have shown 
that they must be considerably ancient, at least in their main 
features. Yet we observe from the different statements 
of Mahomedan authors, that a number of other miracles 
of Zoroaster, of which we know nothing at present, were 
recorded in earlier times. Thus Mirkhond' narrates that 
Zoroaster had a fire which he could hold in his hand 
without injuring himself, and that the Fire of the Magi 
(the above-named Adar Era) originated from it. The 
same historiographer further relates that Zoroaster suffered 
molten metal to be poured on his breast without being 
burnt thereby. More important than the above is the 
statement of Firdusi, that Gushtasp planted a cypress-tree 
in Kishmir, which in the course of years grew to such an 
enormous height, that no lasso could reach it, and that 
over the tree he had caused a magnificent temple to be 
erected, calling upon all his subjects to go to the 

(properly read ^^^j (^^j), may be the present city of Fasi 
(Hamza, p. 37, ed. Gottw.). 

* Mirkhond, (ed. Shea) pp. 286 se^. 



temple, and to offer their worship to the tree, which they 
accordingly did. Later accounts assert that when the Khalif 
Muttavakkel caused that miraculous tree to be felled, 
no less than 2,000 sbeep and bullocks could find room 
underneath it, and that 300 camels were required for its 
removal.* It is evident that this enormous tree cannot have 
been a cypress, for though there may have been large 
cypresses, still they cannot grow to the size which is sup- 
posed in that account. To this it may be added that it cannot 
be proved that the cypress is esteemed in the religion of 
Zoroaster as a sacred tree, though there are some traces 
which 'show that such may have been the case further 
to the West of Iran. However, all this is easily explained 
if we assume that Buddhism is here mistaken for Zoroas- 
trianism. The Indian fig-tree, the ficus reltgiosa, which 
sends new roots out of its branches into the earth, does 
indeed extend itself to a circumference as large as that 
described by the legend. This tree is regarded as sacred, 
especially by the Buddhists, for they believe that 
under its shadow the founder of their religion was 
invested with the dignity of Buddha. They have also 
the custom of sending sprigs of that holy tree to converted 
countries, and of erecting temples by their side.* We 
have a detailed description of the transportation of the 
sacred tree to Ceylon, and we can as well assume that 
such twigs were also sent to Bactria after Buddhism had 
spread in that country. Where, too, we have to look for 
Kishmir and the so-called cypress, has already been said 
above. Far later than the legend above cited is another 
one respecting the contest of Zoroaster with the wise 
Chengrenghacha, an Indian Brahmin, who went to Iran 
with the design of conquering Zoroaster ; but as soon as 
he had listened to the Avesta, was turned from an enemy 

* Vuller's, Fragmenie uber die Religion Zor easier s^ pp. 71, 113. 
.' Comp. Lassen, Ind, Allerlhumsk. I. 257. 



into a zealous adherent of the Prophet. This episode in 
the legend of Zoroaster was accepted in earlier times, 
because it was believed to be confirmed by the Avesta. 
However, this is erroneous, and M. Breal has strikingly 
proved/ that Chengrenghacha was no other than Sankara- 
acharya, who was renowned in India, and to whom a 
Dlgvijaya^ i.e, a conquest of different territories was 
ascribed. Besides, this famous Brahmin lived in the eighth 
century of our era ; he could not, therefore, have met 

All that now remains for us to speak of concerns the 
personal circumstances of Zoroaster in the court at Balkh. 
M. Anquetil has collected the necessary materials on 
this point, and later on M. Windischmann has so fully 
treated the subject, that I shall have to recall only what 
is already known. Besides the royal family, the fre- 
quently-named king Vishtaspa or Gushtasp and his wife 
Hutaosa, Zoroaster also enjoyed friendly intercourse with 
the minister of the king, Jamaspa, of the family of Hvogva 
or Hvova. We find him named in Ys. XIII. 24, 
XLV. 17, XLVIII. 9, L. 18, and Yt V. 68 seq. In the 
last passage is described his victory over the demons. 
He stood on similar good terms with Frashaostra, the 
brother of Jamaspa, {vide Ys. XIII. 24, XXVIII. 8, XLV. 
16, XLVIII. 8, L. 17, LII. 2.) . .. We learn from the 
Bundehesh (80, i seq.) that Zoroaster had three wives, 
one after another. By his first wife, whose name is 
not mentioned, he had a son Isatvastra, and three 
daughters — Freni, Thriti, and Fouruchista ; by a second 
wife were born two other sons Hvarechithra and Urvatat- 
nara. From these three sons the three orders of priests^ 
warriors, and husbandmen are said to have originated.^ AH 

* Vide Journal Asiaiique^ 1862, p. 497- 

• Though great pains have been taken to place the legend of 
Zoroaster in harmony with the heroic tradition, this passage, which 


these names are also known to the Avesta, {vide Ys. XXIII. 
4, XXVI. 17, Yt. XIII. 98, 139). The third wife of 
Zoroaster, being descended from the family of Hv6va, is 
generally named Hvdvi, {vide Yt XIII. 139). Her children 
are not mentioned. In the Bundehesh (80, 7 se^.)^ it is 
said that Zoroaster thrice coupled with Hvovi, thrice his 
seed fell over the earth, the yazata Nairyosagha preserved 
it, and entrusted it to the protection of Anahita, until the 
time shall have come when there shall spring therefrom 
the three future Saviours: Osh^dar, Osh^dar-m&h, and 
Soshios. The mother of the last one is called in Yt. XIX. 
92, Vispa-taurvi. These posthumous sons are also familiar 
to the Avesta, as clearly appears from Yt. XIII. 62, 128, 

* The accounts of Zoroaster's death shew little unifor- 
mity. Here we must again make a distinction between 
Occidental and Oriental accounts. The former reports 
are considerably more modern. Only Suidas and the 
Chronicon Alexandrinum give any information of the event, 
and assume that Zoroaster was consumed by a supernatural 
fire and received back into heaven.^ Amongst Oriental 

entirely contradicts the earlier accounts given by us, appears to me 
to prove that the legend originally assumes a different genesis of 
the world than the Iranian heroic legend does, and consequently 
has no connection with the latter. 

* The Vajarkard, which is indeed apocryphal, (in p. 21, 22, ed. 
Bombay), agrees with the rest of the statements, with the remark 
that the mother of Isatvastra and the three daughters was called 
Urvij, that the second wife was a widow, named Arnij Bareda, 
whose first husband was called Matunaibar (Mihryar). 

■ Quod Zoroasires precaius eai, ut moriiurus fulmine ictus 
interiret : et Persis denuntiavit^ uhi me ignis caelestis consumserit^ 
ossium meorum crematorum cineres servaie, et quamdiu hoc facitis^ 
regnum a vobis non aufertur : quod fecerunt, Itle autem^ invocaio 
Orione^ a caelesti flamma depastus inter iit. •* For Zoroaster prayed 
that when his hour approached, he might die by lightning ; and 
he said to the Persians : * When the heavenly fire has consumed 


writers only Masudi and Dastur Peshotanji Behramji express 
their opinion as to Zoroaster's death. The former (vol. 
II. p. 127, ed. Paris) simply says: — *' He died in the seventy- 
seventh year of his life." With this the Dastur agrees ; but 
he also adds that the event took place on the nth day 
(Khorshed) of the tenth month (Dai), and that Zoroaster 
suffered martyrdom at the taking of Baikh by Arjasp, (of 
whom we shall hear further on), on the same occasion 
when Lohrasp also lost his life. A warrior from the army 
of Arjasp, named Turbaratiir, is said to have entered his 
temple, and Zoroaster is said to have perished by his 
sword. Whence the Dastur' has drawn this account I am 
unable to prove, as likewise the assertion of Mr. Malcolm 
(I. 62, note) that Zoroaster died some years before the 

me, preserve the ashes of my (burned) bones, and as long as you 
do this, the kingdom shall not be taken away from you.' This they 
did. But he, calling upon Orion, was consumed by celestial fire 
and died. " Thus also Suidas, though he makes Zoroaster an 

* [Dastur Peshotonji seems to have formed this view on the 
basis of a series of scattered references in most of the well-known 
Pahlavi iomes^ regarding Zoroaster's murder by the most wicked 
creature ever bom of man, Turtbrddarvakhshy to whom the 
Prophet himself had pointed as his murderer in one of the 
prophetic declarations so fully recorded in the fifth book of the 
Dinkardy which says : — 

" As to what constitutes the glorious prophecy and perfect weal of 
Zartusht, (it is manifest that) his murder by Turibradarvakhsh 
was revealed to Zartusht himself." 

That this prediction of the Prophet was, no doubt, verified is 
confirmed, amongst other evidences, by the testimony of the 
(Pahlavi) Bahman Vasht, ch. II. 3, the Sad-dar, ch. IX. 5 (** with 
Turibradarvaksh who slew Zaratusht,") and the Dddas/dn-t'diftt\ ch. 
I.XXII. 8, "One was Turibradarvakhsh, ihe karap and heterodox 
sorcerer, by whom the best of men was killed." — T/.;/,] 



above-mentioned invasion. The latter account does not 
seem to be old ; on the contrary, the Sadder Bundehesh, 
to which we are already indebted for many important 
statements, asserts that Zoroaster at least did not die in 
Baikh, but returned to Aryana-vaija after Gushtasp's 
conversion.* The same book also raises the question why 
such a distinguished character, as Zoroaster was, should 
have died at all ? We are informed that when Zoroaster 
asked immortality from God, the latter replied that if 
Zoroaster were to remain immortal, the wicked Turbariitur 
would also remain immortal, the resurrection would then 
be impossible and mankind without hope. Then Ahura is 
said to have granted omniscience to Zoroaster for one 
moment,^ when the latter beheld the delights of Paradise 
and the miseries of Hell, 'and was satisfied with the 
dispensations of Providence. 

* The passage (to which Anquetil draws our attention) occurs in 
Sadder Bundehesh, fol. I40 :— 

*H-v^ tHi^J jj^ ^i-ifrf^O J 6j^, »jtC«f J fjj 4y(^ ^0 ^ 

• [Compare West, ** Pahlavi Texts," part I. p. 194 : ** In the 
Vohilman Yasht Commentary (zand) it is declared that Zaratusht 
asked immortality from Auharraazd a second time, and spoke 
thus :— • I am Zaratusht, more righteous and more efficient among 
these thy creatures, O Creator I when Thou shalt make me immortal 
as the tree opposed to harm, and Gopatshah, G(>shti-Fr}'an, and 
Chitrokmyan, son of Vishtasp> who is Peshyotanii, were made. 
When Thou shalt make me immortal, they in Thy good religion 
will believe that the upholder of religion, who receives from 
Auharmazd this pure and good religion of the Afazdayasn&n^ 
will become immortal ; then those men will believe in Thy good 
religion.' Auharmazd spoke thus : — * When I shall make thee 
immortal, O Zaratusht the Spitaman 1 then Turibradarvakhsh the 
Karap will become immortal, and when Tiiribradarvakhsh the 
Karap shall become immortal the resurrection and future existeocc 

VOL. II. Z 3 


Now, after we have become acquainted with the 
circumstances of Zoroaster's life, as they are related, a 
question forces itself upon us, to which it is necessary, 
owing to the importance of the man, to find, if not a definite, 
at least a conditional answer. We mean the question 
whether Zoroaster was a mythical or a historical character. 
Nobody is likely to consider the accounts, which we have 
transcribed, as historical. We could obtain no clear 
knowledge concerning the interpretation of the name, nor 
the age, nor even the native country of Zoroaster, and all 
this indeed least of all from Western narratives, though these 
are in point of time the more ancient ones. The Oriental 
reports are, it is true, more in harmony. . .As the most solid 
nucleus might, perhaps, remain the statements, that Zoroaster 
was descended from a royal race, that he had given proofs of 
his surpassing genius already in his fifteenth year, and that 
with his thirtieth year he had commenced the promulgation 
of his religion in the different provinces of Iran, and 
especially in Arrdn and Adarabaijan, but above all at the 
court of Gushtasp in Bactria. Such are the particular 
items derived from Eastern sources, with which those of 
Western origin also are not incompatible. Now the 
question is whether we are to regard all these events as 
mythical, so that no historical nucleus is to be found 
in all these narratives ; or whether Zoroaster is a historical 
character, whose life was reduced to a bare tradition by 

are not possible.' Zaratusht seemed uneasy about it in his mind ; 
and Auharmazd, through the wisdom of omniscience, knew what 
was thought by Zaratusht the Spitaman with the righteous spirit, 
and He took hold of Zaratusht's hand. And He, Auharmazd the 
Propitious Spirit, Creator of the material world, the Righteous 
One, even He put the omniscient wisdom, in the shape of water 
on the hand of Zaratusht, and said to him thus: 'Devour it.' 
And Zaratusht devoured it ; thereby the omniscient wisdom was 
intermingled with Zaratusht, and seven days and nights Zaratusht 
was in the Wisdom of Auharmazd." — TV. «.] 



means of legends. Both these views have found their 
advocates. The mythical view has been lately represented 
by M. Kern/ who, relying especially upon etymology, 
translates the name Zarathushtra, according to asupposition 
of M. Windischmann, into *' a gold star," and who finds 
in the names Pourushaspa (many horses, i, ^., possessing 
beams of light) and Maidhyomao (the middle-moon), a 
reference to the original sidereal power, and comes 
to the conclusion that Zoroaster was originally identical 
with Mithra, but did not signify the morning-star but 
the evening-star. At all events, the import of Zoroaster 
must have been utterly forgotten already at the time 
when the ancients wrote regarding him, and in the 
age when the Avesta was put together, because there 
the position of Zoroaster is evidently different. We 
can follow this view no more than Drs. Justi and 
Tiele, not because we are opposed in principle to a 
mythical conception of Zoroaster, but because we do 
not believe that sufficient proofs are at hand to confirm 
such a theory. Besides, in accordance with our entire 
comprehension of the Iranian epic, we would only be able 
to look upon a mythus of Zoroaster as the later-reflected 
myths, and not as the original ones. For, as we have 
shown, Zoroaster is indeed most appropriately inserted in 
the Iranian heroic legend, and even in a comparatively early 
period, though he does not belong to it originally. We 
find it, therefore, better, along with most inquirers, to com- 
pare Zoroaster rather with the Semitic prophets or with 
Sakyamuni, than with the Indian Rishis, and to consider the 
reports of his life as disfigured through their legendary form. 

^ Vide J, H, C, Kern : Over het woord Zarathushtra en den 
mythischen Per soon van dien Naam {Mededeelingen der K, Akademie 
van Wetenschappen. A/d. Letterkunde. Deel KL^ 1867) ; and 
Tiele : Is Zaraihusira een mythisch Persoon ; and F Justi in 
Gottinger gel. Anzeigen^ 1867, nr. Si, and my own statement in 
Hiidelb, Jahrbiicher^ 1867, nr. 43. 


But now the question will be asked : " What is legend, 
and what is truth ? " We divest the accounts of Zoroaster of 
all mythical adjuncts ; we believe that he was of royal blood ; 
that in his thirtieth year he preached his doctrine in his 
native country ; that the little approbation which they met 
with at the beginning induced him to emigrate to Bactria ; 
and that he succeeded there in securing adherents by the 
help of a king Gushtasp ; and we find that in all these state- 
ments there lies nothing which is not credible, but 
nnfortunately we cannot also prove that they must "have 
so happened. It is possible that Zoroaster proclaimed his 
religion in Bactria ; but it is also possible that the Bactrian 
Magi merely asserted for some reason or another the 
ancient connection of Zoroaster with that dty, just in the 
same manner that the Buddhists cause their Sakyamuni to 
appear in Ceylon, etc., where he never set foot. In general, 
if we compare the above-mentioned plain circumstances of 
Zoroaster's life with those of other like characters, we are 
inclined to doubt even the latter. Especially in the history of 
Sakyamuni does there appear to me to exist some similarity, 
Zoroaster has in common with him royal birth, remarkable 
supernatural talents displayed in his youth, and lastly the 
circumstance that he enters upon his vocation of teacher in 
bis thirtieth year. On the other band, the assumption of his 
prophetic dignity, and his immediate intercourse with the 
Deity remind one of Moses and the Semitic laws, that is, in 
the form in which the narrative has been transmitted to us 
in Chrysostom, Nay more, some analogy has even been 
discovered between the 19th chapter of the Vendidad and 
the history of the temptation by Mathew ; even here a 
Buddhistic parallel may also be found, namely, in the 
temptations to which Sakyamuni was exposed by Mara, 
and here Buddhism, indeed, seems to be the borrowing party. 
We can here, of course, merely allude to such points of 
contact; but in our opinion they would well deserve a 
closer study. After all this, the only thing certain 


that we can extract from the whole of Zoroaster's 
biography, is that he really did live. The proof for this 
assumption lies in the internal evidence, which will be fully 
discussed later on, that is, in the strict and thoroughly well- 
considered method which is displayed throughout the 
whole religion, and which necessarily shows that a single 
individual at least put his finishing hand to it, whatever 
may have been his name. 

That Zoroaster left behind him some manuscripts is the 
opinion generally held by the ancients. The opinion of 
Hermippus on the writings of Zoroaster is well known, 
and proves the existence of such writings, as are 
ascribed to him, in the third century before Christ.' 
Even Western authors admit that Zoroaster left behind 
him his revelations in writing, the original text indeed 
being named according to Masudi (T. H. 126 ed. P.) 
Besta ( Avesta), and that, as an aid to its right understand- 
ing, he afterwards wrote a commentary under the name 
Zend, and later on a second commentary under the name 
Pazend. After Zoroaster's death the theologians of the 
Zoroastrian religion wrote a fresh explanation of the earlier 
commentaries under the name Barida. It is not our 
purpose to enter here into this subject, which must be 
more fully discussed further on ; only we shall here remark 
that the Book of Kings also is familiar with this Avesta 
and Zend and often mentions them. But, though the Book 
of Kings distinctly teaches us that Zoroaster first taught 
the Avesta and Zend during the reign of Gushtasp, and that 
consequently these books could not have been in existence 
before, still it commits the inconsistency of supposing their 
existence in an earlier period. Kaikhosrao especially is very 
often represented as reciting the Avesta and Zend (Shah- 
name, p. 964, 11. 1 1 se^. ; (Vul. ed. p. 981); p. 985, II. 3^^^.) 
According to one passage (p. 910, 1. s), even Fredun depo- 

* Comp. Windischmann, ZoroasL Siudien, pp. iii seq. 


sited in Baikend the Avesta written in golden characters. 
Such inaccuracies seem to me to prove that the artificial 
arrangement^ according to which Zoroaster is placed at the 
close of the mythical period, had not yet entirely come ' 
into vogue. 

Now, after wo have made the necessary remarks upon 
the personality of Zoroaster, we may turn to the reign of 
Gushtasp, and consequently to the promulgation of the 
Prophet's religion. Lohrasp, having entrusted the kingdom 
to his son before his own death, retired to a fire-temple at 
Balkh. According to Flrdusi a religious war follows very 
close upon Gushtasp's embracing the Zoroastrian Law. The 
demons are anxious that the intelligence of the great 
revolution, which has taken place in Iran, should soon 
reach the ears of Arjasp, king of TQran. The latter at once 
determines not to tolerate the innovation. He sends an 
embassy with a letter to Gushtasp, wherein he admonishes 
the latter not to listen to the allurements of Zoroaster 
but to return to the path cf justice. Should Gushtasp 
comply with his demands he promises to give him rich 
presents ; but should he not take his admonition to heart, he 
threatens to come with an army in a few months and to 
desolate Iran. Gushtasp communicates the message 
received to his confidential friends, Zarir, Isfandiar, and 
Jamasp, and these undertake to give the proper reply to 
the king of Turan, in which they particularly warn him 
not to approach Iran with an army, as they themselves 
jntend to march with their forces towards his country. 
Then preparations are made on both sides and the 
hostile armies meet near the Oxus. This battle, however, 
differs materially from earlier ones in the fact that Gushtasp 
knew its result beforehand ; for he had on his side 
Jamasp, the Wise, who, as we already know, was cognizant of 
the past as well as of the future, and who then told 
Gushtasp that the battle, though it would turn out a very 
bloody one, would surely end in his favour. What Jamasp 


had foretold naturally happened. In the single combats 
which took place, Ardashir, Sheru, and Shedasp, the three 
sons of Gushtasp, fell. Then Kerami, the son of Jamasp, 
forced his way into the fight. The imperial banner, 
which the Iranians had abandoned in the general tumult, 
was recaptured by Kerami, and when the Turanians cut off 
one of his arms he held the banner firmly betwen his teeth, 
while he fought with the other arm. But at last he also 
fell under the blows of overwhelming numbers. Several 
others among the most valiant Iranians also perished; but 
in the end Zarir, the commander-in-chief and brother of 
the king, came on the scene and caused great destruction 
amongst the Turanian heroes. Thus affairs went on for 
two weeks, and Arjasp promised a handsome reward to 
whosoever amongst his heroes would vanquish Zarir; but 
nobody dared undertake the task. At last Biderefsh 
undertook it. But even he did not venture to meet Zarir 
i.i open combat, and shot him dead with an arrow fired 
from an ambuscade. The death of Zarir produced great 
terror in the hearts of the Iranians, and king Gushtasp^ 
having failed in animating his heroes to avenge the death 
of Zarir, made a vow that in case he should succeed in his 
battle with Arjasp, he would resign his crown to Isfandiar 
and his army to Peshotan, whilst he himself would 
retire into solitude after the example of his father 
Lohrasp. This vow was naturally a stimulus to Isfandiar 
to distinguish himself. He threw himself into the thickest 
of the fight, slew Biderefsh and brought back the arms 
and the horse of Zarir to the Iranian camp. In a short 
time no man dared risk a combat with him. Arjasp 
finally gave up the battle as lost and fled. The deserted 
army offered to accept the true Faith and was pardoned 
by Gushtasp. 

This battle between Gushtasp and Arjasp, which we 
have just narrated, is in its principal features also current 
in the Avesta. There, too, we find Vishtaspa frequently 



praying that he may conquer Arejat-aspa, (Yt. V. 109 ; IX. 
30; XVII. 50; XIX. 87). Arejat-aspa himself also once 
(Yt. V. 116) appears praying that he may be granted a 
triumph over Gushtasp. 

Gushtasp then commissioned Nestur, the son of Zarir, 
who had fallen in battle, to invade the kingdom of Arjasp 
and to press further his victory, while he himself 
returned to his country and sent his son Isfandiar all over 
the world to propagate the Zoroastrian Law. The latter 
nowhere met with opposition. The Kaiser of Rum and 
all princes showed themselves willing to embrace the new 
religion and requested him to forward the religious books. 
Isfandiar was then soon able to inform his father, that the 
faith of Zoroaster had been accepted throughout the 
world, Gushtasp, however, did not appear to remember a 
word of his former vow to cede his throne voluntarily to 
Isfandiar after his successful return. On the contrary, 
circumstances assumed quite a different aspect, and showed 
the pious Gushtasp in altogether a peculiar light. Kerzem, 
a kinsman of the royal house, who hated Isfandiar, 
calumniated the latter to his father, affirming that he had 
collected an army to dethrone Gushtasp. The king readily 
believed the calumniator and despatched Jamasp with a 
letter ordering Isfandiar to return forthwith to the court. 
Jamasp, as well as Isfandiar himself, knew that evil days 
awaited the prince if he should answer the summons. 
Nevertheless, both were of opinion that the commands of 
his father must be obeyed. They regarded the whole affair 
as manifestly a trial which had come over the Hero of the 
Faith, and which the latter had to meet with courage. 
Gushtasp, indeed, caused heavy fetters to be laid on 
Isfandiar on the ground of high treason, and ordered him 
to be carried to the stronghold of Kenbedan,* there to be 

■^ — I - - 

* According to the author of Mujmil the fortress of Kenbedan 
is identical with Girdkoh, which is supposed to lie in Mazenderan. 



bound fast to four iron stakes. How foolish such a 
proceeding was, Gushtasp was soon to learn. Some time 
after this event the king went to Zabul in order to pay a 
visit to Rustem. The visit lasted very long, fully two 
years. Meanwhile the news of Isfandiar^s imprisonment 
spread abroad, and the king, who had no need of being 
afraid any longer of that hero, almost abandoned 
Zoroaster's religion. Arjasp also heard this intelligence 
with delight, as it offered him some prospect of vengeance, 
for the army, which Isfandiar had placed under the 
command of his son Behman, had in part disbanded 
itself, and in part marched to the vicinity of Kenbedan, 
in order not to be far distant from its beloved 
commander. As soon as Arjasp received certain inform- 
ation of these events, and particularly of there being no 
troops in Balkh,^ he levied an army, and gave his son 
Kehrem orders to advance against that city, he himself 
following soon after with a second army. The project 
succeeded, and Balkh was taken by surprise, no garrison 
being found there excepting Lohrasp and other pious men 
who adored the sacred fire in retirement. It is true that 
Lohrasp immediately took up arms and placed himself at 
the head of the effective burghers ; but, though he sold his 
life dearly^ he was unable to prevent the taking of the 
town. After his death the fire-temple was invaded and 
the remaining pious priests were slain . With their blood 
the sacred fire was extinguished, and both the daughters of 
Gushtasp, Humai and Behafrid, were taken into captivity. 
Still it was fortunate that it occurred to one of the wives 
of Gushtasp to steal away from the town in Turkish 
costume, and to go to Sajistan in order to communicate the 

Indeed, Melgunof (dcu nordliche Ufer^ ^/c, p. 134), mentions a 
mountain-peak Girdkoh, which lies in the vicinity of the road 
leading from Asterabad to Shahrud. 

* Here end the portions of the Book of Kings composed by 

VOL. II. Z 4 


important intelligence to Gushtasp. The latter, thereupon, 
speedily levied an army ; but no sooner had he approached 
Balkh, than Arjasp came with a second force to the 
assistance of Kehrem. It is remarkable enough that 
Rustem should have let his guest depart, when his 
position was so desperate, without rendering him any 
assistance. The battle between Gushtasp and Arjasp was 
a very fierce one, in which many heroes fell on both sides. 
Thirty-eight sons* of Gushtasp, who took part in the 
struggle, all perished. Gushtasp, losing hope, took to 
flight and was closely pursued by the Turanians, who 
attempted to capture him. Fortunately the flying Iranians 
came to a steep declivity, the approach to which was only 
known to Gushtasp, who led thither his army in safety.^ Now 
the Turanians who pursued him, could not find any way up 
the mountain and were forced to remain content with 

* The names of these sons seem to be partly mentioned in 
Yt. XIII. 10 1. [Zain'-vain, Fukk/a-vairi, Srlraokhskan, Keresaokh- 
shafif Vandra, Varaza, Bujisravah, Berezyar^tu Tizyar^tU 
Perethuarshti and Vityar^ti. These names, I suppose, belong to 
the brothers of Gushtasp rather than to his sons. Zairi-vairi is 
identical with the Persian Zarir, the son of Lohrasp {Aurvat-aspa) . 
Vide Yt. V. ii2. Among other names West believes i?«/Vjraz'aA 
to be possibly the same with Pai-Khosrav^ a brother to Vishtaspa in 
the YadkSri Zariran. (Comp. Darmesteter, Yt. XIII. p. 205, n. £.) 

■ I have no doubt that this mountain is the same with that 
mentioned by the Bundehesh, and named Mat'd'fnyad{'' it came to 
help''). According to the view of the Bundehesh this mountain 
appears to have been severed from the extensive range to which it 
belonged at the time of Gushlasp'a flight, and to have offered a 
refuge to that religious king. [West reads Madofryad (" come- 
tO'help*'), and renders the passage in which this name occurs as 
follows :— ** From the same Padashkhvargar mountain unto Mount 
Kumis, ivhich they call Mount Madofriyad — that in which Vishtaspa 
routed Arjfisp — is Mount Miyanidasht (* mid-plam'), and was 
broken off from that mountain there." Vtde 'Pahlavi Texts,' Bun- 
dthcsh, chapter XII. 3 2. J 



blockading the Iranian army on all sides. In this embar- 
rassed position Gushtasp was now completely helpless, and 
turning to Jamasp, asked him whether he could find any 
means of escape. Jamasp replied that nobody except 
Isfandiar was able to deliver him from danger. So Gushtasp 
determined to address himself to his heroic son, whom he had 
so deeply offended, and Jamasp was again the bearer of his 
message. Again did Gushtasp declare his resolution to 
renounce the throne and to retire into solitude, in case he 
were rescued from his present danger, and offer to make 
Isfandiar his successor. Should the latter refuse, the empire 
of Iran was undone. Jamasp dressed as a Turanian stole 
through the ranks of the enemy and succeeded in reaching 
Kenbedan, where he communicated to Isfandiar the pro- 
posals of Gushtasp, but found Isfandiar very little disposed 
to consent. At last, however, the persuasions of Jamasp 
induced him to forget his personal grievances, and to 
render the desired help to his father. Isfandiar then forced 
his way through the hostile army, killed many Turanians 
and revived the courage of the Iranians j whilst Arjasp on 
the contrary became despondent, for he had trusted that he 
would be able to bring the war to an end without the inter- 
ference of Isfandiar. And, indeed, in the ensuing battle 
Isfandiar achieved great feats of heroism ; he captured 
Kergesar alive, who alone ventured to fight with him. 
Besides, he killed so many Turanians, that Arjasp once again 
abandoned his army intent only upon safely regaining 


II. — Iranian Art. 

Whether it be entirely due to accidental circumstances 
or not, it is at least a remarkable fact that all the monu- 
ments of Iranian art now in existence belong exclusively 
to the two Southern dynasties. The cuneiform inscriptions, 
which have been found in Media, are either foreign to that 
country, or at least do not belong to the Iranian dynasty 
of Media. Herodotus relates (I. 98, 99) that Deioces 
compelled the Medes to build him a fortress. Nevertheless, 
in the assertion that the seven battlements of this fortress 
were painted in seven different colours, we may trace the 
influence of Babylon, where we also find structures having 
seven storeys, each storey built with bricks of different 
colours, each colour representing a diflferent planet.* 
Polybius, too (10, 27), mentions a splendid palace in 

* Cf, Lenormant, Manuel di Vhisioire ancienne de V Orient ^ 
II. p. 345. Duncker in the latest edition of his Geschichte des 
Alter thums questions this opinion, which, though it cannot be 
completely proved, is at least highly probable. [Compare also 
La Magie chez les Chaldeens, " Chaldean Magic," Eng. ed. 
pp. 226-227 : — " The worship of the stars was fully developed in the 

system of Median Magic Evidently it came into Persia 

from the Magi. The principal feature of this worship amongst the 
Medes is made known to us by the description which Herodotus 
gives of the seven walls of Ekbatana, each with the sacred colour 
of one of the seven planets. The same sacramental arrangement 
was observed in the town of Ganzakh, the Ganzaca of the classical 



Ekbatana ; yet we do not know whether its erection can be 
ascribed to such a remote period. No traces of the fortress 
of Deioces, or even of a later palace, can now be found on 
the site of the ancient Ekbatana. But, though the 
disappearance of those monuments may be explained by 
the great antiquity of the Median empire^ the same apology 
cannot be urged in favour of the empire of the Arsacidae. 
Moreover, it is evident that the kings of that dynasty had 
no ambition to hand down their glory to posterity, 
either by the raising of monumental buildings or by engrav- 
ing inscriptions. 

The artistic monuments belonging to the Achaemenidae 
date from the very founder of their dynasty, Cyrus, the 
remains of whose edifices lie in the plains of Murghab.* 
We cannot believe the assumption that the plains of 
Murghab were identical with the ancient Pasargadae ; * 
however, this does not imply that Cyrus could never have 

writers, and in Atropatency since Moses Chorenensis calls it ' the 
second Ekbatana, the town with seven walls.' Later, in the period 
of the Sassanian dynasty* the Persian poet Nizami describes this 
style as prevailing in the * Palace of the Seven Planets ' built by 
Behram-Gour or Verahran V. (A.D. 420)." The famous Baby. 
Ionian lower of Borsippa is said to have had seven storeys with the 
colours representing the seven planetary bodies. — 7V.«.] 

* IVids Spiegel, Eranische AUerthumskundi, vol. I. p. 95. 
An extensive valley near the upper banks of the Pulvar is called 
the Murghab valley.] 

■ [ Vide Ker Porter, vol. I. p. 487 :— '* The hill unquestionably 
commands the entrance to the valley, or rather plain of Murg- 
ab» now admitted to be that of Pasargadse; but the strong 
natural barriers, which the mountains present to the south and to 
the north, render additional walls unnecessary. Nevertheless, 
Pliny (VI. 26), calls this spot the Castle of Pasargadae, occupied 
by the Magi, and wherein is the tomb of Cyrus:" — '* Inde ad 
orientem Magi ohtinent Passagardas casielluniy in quo Cyri sepuU 
cruM est'* The city of Pasargadae may, therefore, rather be 
considered a holy city, consecrated to the Colleges of the Magi, 



built in that region. Several edifices, indeed, seem to have 
once existed there;* but they have been so utterly 
demolished, that no plan of them can now be made out. A 
platform is still visible, leaning towards the hill which 
commands the plains of Murghab. It is 264 feet high and 
has a frontage of more than 200 feet; but the buildings, 
which formerly stood on this platform, have long since 
disappeared. In another part of the plain there is a second 
platform, on which five pillars, the remains of a smaller 
palace, are still erect. On one of these pillars there is the 
image of a man wearing a peculiar head-dress, such as is 
observed also on Egyptian monuments, and with wings 
apparently issuing from the shoulders. A short inscrip- 
tion over the image states that it represents Kurus^ the 
king of the Achaemenidae. Certain peculiarities in the 
inscription seem to prove that it is older than the other 
cuneiform writings, and that it may even date from Cyrus* 
the Great. This supposition is borne out by the wings, 
which, as we already know, are symbols of kingly majesty.' 

and the officers of religion, than as a stationary royal residence. 
And nothing can be more probable, since it was built by Cyrus to 
commemorate the great victories which made him king, than that 
he should consecrate it to the gods. Cyrus, according toXenophon, 
made seven visits into Persia Proper, his original kingdom, after 
his accession to the vast empire to which he gave its name ; and 
although that historian does not specify the particular place in his 
paternal land, whither he went to perform his accustomed religious 
duties ; yet, as he was the founder of Pasargadae, avowedly as a 
memorial of his national achievements, what can we more 
naturally suppose, than that Pasargadae would be the scene of 
such rites ?" — 7V.«.] 

* Comp, Ker Porter, " Travels,"( London, 1821), vol. I. pp. 485 
seq, Mdnant, Les Achemenides^ p. 17. 

■ Cf, Spiegel, Die altpersischen Keilinschriftetiy pp. 75, 145. 

' [Comp. ihid^ vol. III. p. 599: — " Herodotus relates that when 
Cyrus had a mind to attack the Massagetae, he fancied in his 
dream that he saw two wings growing from the shoulders of 



The head-dress is supposed to represent splendour and 
glory. But, since Cyrus in his inscription calls himself 
simply " king, *' it seems that that image must have been 
carved even before he had assumed the title of *' Great 
King." A third edifice, which is in a state of complete 
preservation and belongs to the time of the Achaeme- 
nidae, is now popularly known as the sepulchre of the mother 
of Sulieman. It is really a tomb, though not that of Cyrus, 
but probably of a woman.* A wide area surrounds this 
tomb,^ which may be recognized from its outward appearance 
by the remains of 24 round columns forming a quad- 
rangle having six columns on each face.' The base, on 
which the sepulchre rests, is composed of huge blocks of 
beautiful white marble, rising in a series of steps. At the 
foot of these steps the base measures 40 feet in one 
direction and 44 in the other. The lowest step is 5 feet 6 
inches high, the second begins 2 feet from the edge of the 
first, and measures 3 feet and 6 inches in height, the 
third is 3 feet 4 inches high, the fourth i foot 1 1 

Darius, and that one of these over-shadowed Asia, the other 
Europe ; this may only be a symbol of royal dignity, and in fact 
we find in Murghab, Cyrus himself represented with wings and 
with a head-dress which can only be supposed to be a halo emble- 
matic of royalty. This is found only in the case of members of the 
royal family, who are distinguished also by other symbols from the 
generality of mankind. For instance, the descendants of Kai- 
qobad have black moles on their arms, and the Seleucidae spread 
the belief that they were born with a mark on their hips in the 
shape of a buoy.*' — Tr.n."] 

^ [C/» E. A, vol. II. p 621. Oppert believes that the modern 
Murghab may be indentical with the Mappdnov mentioned by 
Ptolemy, (VI. 4) ; nevertheless he supposes that the sepulchre may be 
that of a woman, possibly of Kassandane referred to by Herodotus 
in II. I.] 

• Ker Porter, vol. I. p. 499. 

* [To have six columns on each side, four must be placed 
within the quadrangle. — Trji."] 



inches^ the fifth i foot lO inches, and the sixth is of the 
same height as the fifth. On the top rises the sepulchre, 
which opens on the north-western side, and is 4 feet in 
height. Its interior contains only one empty chamber. 
It is probable that this edifice is modelled after the 
Babylonian temples, though on a reduced scale and 
executed in stone.* According to Sir Henry Rawlinson's 
assertion, the work of excavation in the plains of Murghab 
ought to prove useful, and we may expect from it interesting 
results in the future. 

From Murghab a march of only a few leagues brings 
us to the magnificent valley, in which was the old residence 
of the Achaemenidae, The plain is called Hafrek, or 
more commonly, though erroneously, Merdasht, which only 
denotes the tract extending from the ruins of Istakhr, on 
the left bank of the Palvar, to the junction of this river 
with the Kum Firuz. We know from ancient chronicles 
how the royal palace of Persia was destroyed by a Greek 

courtezan, who in the course of a drunken orgy threw 
a burning torch into the edifice. Nevertheless, some 
portions of it have been preserved to this day. The plain 
of Hafrek also contains a few more ruins of the same age. 
The present population of Iran, having long since lost all 
remembrance of the Achaemenidae, give to these ruins 
entirely false names, and generally associate them with 
the heroes of old legendary history. The most important 
are known by the name of the Forty Columns (Chihil-setun 
or Chihil^mindr.) ^ A description of the palace, as it existed 

* Ferguson, " History of Architecture^" vol. I. p. 156. 

• [" These ruins, for which the name Chihil Mendre or the 
' forty minarets,' can be traced back to the 1 3th century, are now 
known as Takhti Jamshid, * the throne of Jamshld.* That they repre- 
sent the Persepolis captured and partly destroyed by Alexander the 
Great, has been beyond dispute at least since the time of Pietro 
della Valle. Amongst the earlier scholars the fanciful notions of 


before its destruction, has been transmitted to us by 
Diodorus, (17, 71).* According to his statement, the 
castle had three walls, of which the first was 16 ells high 
and provided with a parapet; the second wall had double 
this height ; the third, which formed a quadrangle 60 ells 
in height, was built of immense blocks of stone ; on each 
side were brazen doors and also railings 20 ells high. 
The interior of the castle contained chambers for the 
king and his chief officers, and the treasury. This account 
seems to be quite borne out by the remains of the castle 
existing at the present day. The first two walls men- 
tioned by Diodorus have disappeared ; but the inner 
quadrangle containing the castle proper still remains. 
This castle stood on a cliff, the sides of which had been 
made perpendicular by art, partly by scarping the black 
marble rock, and partly by erecting a massive wall 
against its sides. The terrace thus formed had its front 
towards the west, the right side towards the north, the 
left towards the south, while the back or the eastern side 
was connected with the higher mountain behind. The 

the Persians, who are utterly ignorant of the real history of their 
country before Alexander, often received too much attention ; 
hence many of them were of opinion that the buildings were of 
much higher antiquity than the time of Cyrus ; and even those 
who rightly regarded them as the works of the Achaemenians, were 
unable to support their theory by conclusive evidence. The 
decipherment of the cuneiform Persian inscriptions found on the 
ruins and in the neighbourhood has put an end to all doubt on 
this point We now read with absolute certainty that some of the 
edifices are the work of Darius I.> Xerxes Artaxerxes III. (Ochus), 
and with equal certainty we may conclude that all the others were 
built under the Achaemenian dynasty." Vide *' Encyclopaedia 
Britannica." — TV.w.] 

* Besides the works of Niebuhr and Ker Porter, for this descrip- 
tion I have also referred to Lassen's article on Persepolis in Der 
Ersch und Gruberschen Encyclopadie^ Menant's Les Achemcnidts, 
(Paris 1872), and Fergusson's '* History of Architecture." 


height of this terrace is about 1 1 yards, its length from 
north to south about 520 yards, and its breadth from 
east to west 315 yards.* Its shape may be described 
as almost quadrangular, though with many corners or 
angles and small projections. The surface is not quite 
level, but divides itself into three platforms of different 
heights. The ascent is on the western side, though not 
in the middle, but nearer the north. A splendid doubfe 
flight of stairs leads up to the terrace. It is about 23 feet 
broad, and formed of blocks of marble so immense that ten 
steps and about a seventh part of the eleventh are cut in a 
single block, while each of these steps is scarcely 4 
inches high, so that one can easily ride up on horseback. 
Each of the two staircases has a resting-place in the 
middle. On the southern side, also, a smaller and steeper 
staircase leads up to the platform, and probably a similar one, 
as I conjecture, existed on the northern side. As soon as 
you ascend the platform, you stand before two pillars from 
which stand out two gigantic bulls (about 18 feet high and 
19J feet long). They stand on pedestaJs of about 5 feet 
in height and form the remains of a doorway only 12} feet 
in breadth. This doorway leads into a small apartment, 
which had, even in M. Chardin's time, foursplendid columns. 
At present only two are erect (S4i'u feet high). They 
are evidently relics of a portico, which led to two other 
pillars with corresponding figures. In the latter the bulls 
are represented with human faces wearing tiaras. We 
now learn that the figures of these fabulous beasts are 
imitations of the Assyrian style of architecture.^ An 

* Comp. Menant, Les Achementdest p. 39. According to Ker 
Porter (I. p. 582), the terrace has a length of 802 feet towards the 
south, 926 feet towards the north, and i>425 feet towards the west. 

* Cf. Mdnant, ibid^ p. 40. He surmises that the faces of these 
beasts were likenesses, and that it is not difficult to recognize in 
their features the monarchs whom the artist intended to represent. 



inscription at the entry (D, as it is generally named), informs 
us that this door was built by Xerxes and intended to be the 
ordinary entrance. This accounts for the large double 
staircase, which served for the accommodation of deputations 
consisting of great numbers of people. The only trace yet 
existing on the smooth-worn part of the terrace, besides 
this entrance, is a conspicuous cistern, probably a relic of 
an ancient aqueduct. This part of the structure may 
also have contained the quarters of the guards and other 
servants of the castle. If you turn from this doorway 
to the right hand {ue., to the south), you come to 
a second splendid staircase, through which you ascend, 
by 31 steps, to the second part-of the terrace, which is 
higher by 6} feet. There are altogether four staircases ; 
a double staircase in the middle, and single staircases 
rising on the eastern and western sides. The project- 
ing wall of the middle staircase is covered with sculp- 
tures divided by three tablets intended for inscriptions.^ 
Two of these tablets are blank, and the Old Persian text 
(A) alone has been engraved on the third. It dates from 
Xerxes I. On both sides of the inscriptions stand figures, 
three on the right with spears and shields^ four on the left 
with spears only. The number seven I do not consider to 
be merely accidental. Each of the figures wears a high 
tiara and the Median costume, while the beard and hair 
are carefully curled. Probably they represent body-guards 
and chamberlains, who watched the entrance to the royal 
apartments. The two angular spaces on each side of these 
figures are filled with effigies of a lion attacking a fabulous 
beast. The rear wall also of that part of the platform, 
from which the staircase projects, extends from east to 
west, side by side with the ascending steps, and is covered 
with engraved figures of persons apparently ascending. 
Originally there were three rows of such figures, but the 

C/l Ker Porter, vol. I. p. 594 and tablet 34. 


topmost row has been half destroyed, which circumstance 
proves that the wall must have been formerly higher. 
The length of each row is 68 feet. Towards the east the 
lowest row includes 53 persons standing,^ of whom 32 are 
men, partly in close-fitting and partly in wide garments^. 
The latter seems to be the Persian, the former the Median 
costume. The head is apparently covered by a flat cap ; 
hair and beard are dressed with the customary care. Some 
of the figures carry bows, others short swords ; others 
again are without any weapons^ but adorned with neck- 
laces, ear-rings, and bracelets, all royal insignia, perhaps 
indicative of their rank. Several of them carry a »taff 
with a ball. These are, as Sir R. Ker Porter correctly 
supposes, the so-called Mehphores. Before these 32 figures 
march 21 armed men, probably a portion of the body-guard. 
The second row shows again 32 persons of the same des^ 
cription, preceded by 2 J spearmen. The figures in the 
third row cannot now be made out. I am inclined to 
believe that these personages are partly the great men of 
the Empire, who had the special privilege of ascending 
in the presence of the king by the chief staircase. Still 
more interesting are the carvings on the western side of 
the wall.^ Here also there are three rows, one above 
the other. The highest row is again damaged. The 
figures are arranged in divisions of six persons each, the 
divisions being separated from one another by a border of 
cypress leaves. The first figure in each wears a wide, 
flowing robe, a tiara, dagger, and girdle, and bears a 
long staff. M. Lassen is perfectly right in surmising 
these to be the so-called <r#ciyin-ovxoi of Xenophon, (Cyro-* 
poedia, 8, 3, 15 and 22), royal chamberlains, who had 
to conduct the deputations into the presence of the 
king. Their distinctive attire seems to indicate their 

* Niebuhr, tablet 21. Ker Porter, tablet 37. 

• Niebuhr, tablet 22. Ker Porter, tablets, 37-43. 



rank. As to the persons ushered in by them, every division 
has its peculiar costume.* The second figure in each 
wears no clothing, but the others are distinguished by 
divers articles of dress which they wear or carry, or by their 
cattle, horses, and chariots. Spearmen do not seem to 
march before them, but they are carved above the steps 
of the staircase, one over each step. It has long been 
the unanimous opinion of antiquarians that these persons 
represent delegates who bring tribute from the provinces. 
Whether this was on some peculiar occasion, such as 
New Year's Day, the birthday of the king, or the like, 
cannot be ascertained. On the eastern and western 
extremities of this wall is also represented the lion attack- 
ing a fabulous beast. 

After mounting upstairs, you come to a perron in a 
great portico, which is the chief attraction of the ruins of 
Persepolis and has given rise to the name of Chihil-minar 
or '* Forty Columns/' The centre of this portico was 
formed by a quadrangle of 36 columns, in 6 rows ; three 
other groups of twelve columns, each in two rows, stand 
on the north, east, and west sides of this quadrangle, 
forming a vestibule and two side wings to the great hall. 
On the south side there is no such group. So there were, 
on the whole, 72 columns, the positions of which may still 
be recognized, but of which only thirteen are now erect. 
The columns are all of black marble, each having 32 flutes 
or channels. The height of each is 64 feet, that of the 
capital being 4*6 feet. The bases of the columns of the 
central hall differ from those of the apartments standing 
close to it. The floor of this part of the palace consisted 
of large marble slabs. M. Lassen is probably right in 
supposing that this great hall must have been a vestibule, 

* According to M^nant (p. 49), 15 to 16 descriptions of persons 
may be enumerated, who are distinguished by the articles of dress^ 
&c., which they seem to be offering as tribute. 


not a presence-chamber, as was formerly believed. Its 
splendour was intended only to increase the awe of those 
who were to be admitted to an interview. This portico 
occupies two-thirds of the second platform, whereof it forms 
the principal edifice. Continuing towards the south you 
come to a third terrace requiring a further ascent of ten feet. 
The building upon it had two facades, one to the north, 
the other to the west^ the principal staircase leading up 
on the western side. The walls surrounding the base of 
this terrace were also decorated with sculptures and 
contained an inscription of Xerxes in three languages 
(Ca), recording that the edifice (G. in Niebuhr) had been 
erected by Darius I.; nevertheless we believe that it was 
finished by Xerxes L This inscription is again repeated 
on a column at the top of the staircase. This edifice 
is, likewise, in ruins ; but isolated walls with windows, doors, 
and door-posts are still erect, since they were made of blocks 
too huge to be easily removed by modern Persians. It is 1 70 
feet long and 95 feet broad, and contains three apartments ; 
a great hall in the middle and two apartments attached to 
it by doors on the north and south sides. Excavations have 
shown that its roof was supported by 16 columns^ there 
being in the northern vestibule 8 columns in two rows. 
The effigies carved in this edifice are of great interest. 
The northern and southern walls of the great hall exhibit 
again the image of the king, over whom hovers the image 
of Ahura Mazda. ^ On the eastern and western walls of the 
same hall we find a human figure — no doubt the king — 
fighting against various monsters ; the same sculpture also 
represents a hero who has seized a lion and is thrusting 
a dagger into the heart of the animal. 

Over several of the portals we find the image of the 
king, walking, habited in a long robe, with wide sleeves, 

* [This image, I believe, represents only the Fravashi or the 
guardian spirit of the personage over whom it hovers. — Tr.w.] 


its flowing skirts reaching to the ankles, high shoes, a 
sceptre in one hand, and a cup or a flower in the other. 
Two servants, much shorter than the king himself, . hold 
above him an umbrella and a fly-flap. A short inscription 
(B), over the image in three languages, informs us that the 
king represented there is Darius I. On the straight cap 
as well as on the breast, hands, and shoulders, are holes in 
which, probably, ornaments of gold or precious stones 
were once fastened. The same image is also exhibited over a 
second portal. But here the king holds in the left hand a 
drinking vessel, in the right one a kettle. Near the side- 
doors to the south and west there are figures of spearmen, 
and round the windows runs a short inscription (L), which 
is repeated eighteen times in this part of the palace, 
having the Persian text on top, the Scythian on the left, 
and the Assyrian on the right. It must also be mentioned 
that on the western staircase there is an inscription of 
Artaxerxes III., which may be clearly accounted for from 
the changes which that king must have made in the palace 
of Darius. It is generally agreed that the building contained 
apartments, intended to be used by the king for ordinary 
purposes. This is also suggested by the bas-reliefs 
executed on the walls of its staircase, which again represent 
persons bearing other gifts than those already named 
above — a lamb, a melon, &c., in short, whatever is requisite 
for domestic use. 

On one side of this edifice, about 82 yards towards the 
west, there are some indistinct traces of another structure, 
that seems to have stood quite on the top of the 
terrace. Herein the inscription (P) of Artaxerxes III. is 
repeated. We also observe some vestiges of another 
inscription in Assyrian cuneiform characters, which dates 
from Artaxerxes I. Perhaps that king had laid the founda- 
tion of the structure, which was afterwards finished by 
Artaxerxes III. Here bas-reliefs are in a good state of 
preservation. There are figures of persons bearing tribute 



including ivory which must probably have come (rom 

On the third terrace there are again . some other 
considerable, though now very ruinous, edifices, to which 
stairs lead up. A great staircase may have formerly 
existed here, but no traces thereof are now to be seen. 
Along the walls of the staircase there are sculptured figures 
resembling those of the second platform. Above hovers the 
symbol of Ahura Mazda which, however, is not now quite 
distinct, and an inscription of Xerxes (Ea), which is 
elsewhere repeated (Eb). Of the two buildings in this 
part of the terrace, one (H) has been so completely 
destroyed, that little can be said about it. A second edifice 
(I) connected with the former by a sculptured passage is 
very similar to the structure (G) described above. It 
consists of a hall, close to which stands on the north side 
an apartment equal to it in length. This hall contains 
as many as 36 columns, and had on two sides similar 
apartments, each one having three partitions. Here, 
too, you will see sculptured figures. Here, also, 
the king is represented walking, followed by two at- 
tendants holding above him the fly-flap and the 
umbrella. The inscription over the head of the king (C) 
records that he is Xerxes I.; his name is also engraved in 
several places on his robe. Xerxes seems to have been 
taller than his father ; both these figures deserve a still more 
accurate study. That these buildings were used for domestic 
purposes, is quite evident from their sculpture. With 
these two edifices ends the palace towards this side. On the 
southern wall of this platform there are four inscriptions, 
which may be read from the plain below, and which deviate 
from the common arrangement. Two of these contain 
Persian texts, viz., the two important inscriptions (H) and( I). 
The other tablets contain each a Scythian and an Assyrian 

Comp. Herodotus III. 97, and Mcnant, p. 64. 



text, not mere translations of the Persian text, as is 
commonly the case, but each of them an independent 
inscription. The Scythian one states that Darius erected 
the palace, and that no one had ever built there before.' 
We admit, therefore, the certainty that Darius himself 
had raised the palace of Persepolis, which was afterwards 
completed by his successors. The Assyrian text is inde- 
pendent too, but adds nothing new to our knowledge. 

Having surveyed all the portions of the palace of 
Persepolis, which lie on the western side of the platform, 
we return to the gate of entrance to take a view of the 
remaining ones, which lie in a natural depression of the 
terrace towards the eastern side, and may, therefore, be 
reached without any staircase. On turning away from the 
main entry to the east, we soon reach the remains of the 
portico (O), evidently leading from the principal gate 
to an edifice (L), which must have been the largest of all the 
buildings in Persepolis, for it measures 300 feet from 
north to south, and 247^ feet from west to east. 
Formerly, this portico seems to have been a vestibule 
consisting of 16 columns. At the entrance there once stood 
two colossal beasts, the pedestals of which are still remain- 
ing, like those at the main gateway. The structure itself 
consisted of one large and single hall, the ceiling of which 
seems to have been supported by 100 columns in ten rows. 
It contains no inscriptions ; only the front and southern walls 
are richly adorned with sculpture. Near the door the king 
is represented,^ sitting on a throne, with his feet resting on a 
footstool, while behind him stands a eunuch with the fly-flap 
in his right hand, and a piece of cloth in the left. Behind him 
stands an armour-bearer with sword and bow, and another 
holding a spear. Before the footstool are deposited vessels 
for burning incense, behind which stands a person with 

* M^nant, pp. 80-81. 

• C/. Niebuhr, tablet 29. Ker Porter, tablet 45, b. 
VOL II. Z 6 


his hand held up to his mouth, probably an envoy who has 
been admitted into the royal presence. Beneath the throne 
stand forty guards in four rows, their faces looking inwards 
toward the central throne. Above the king hovers a 
figure, which, no dOubt, represents Ahura Mazda. On the 
right and left sides of this symbol are three animals; but 
it is not determined whether they are intended to represent 
dogs, bulls, or lions. All these rows are divided by borders 
studded with roses. A similar likeness of the king is 
found at the southern door lying opposite.' The throne 
is not surrounded by body-guards, but there are fourteen 
men of various nationalities, who seem to support it. 
Behind the king is only an eunuch with a fly-flap, but no 
figure stands before him. Since the king is represented 
twice at each door, this image appears four times on each wall. 
At the doors of the eastern and western walls are again 
effigies of combats with fabulous beasts. That we have in 
this edifice the real presence-hall of Darius is unquestioned, 
and M. Niebuhr^ has ingeniously remarked that it is not 
without some purpose that we here find Darius always repre- 
sented in a sitting attitude, not walking as in the structure 
(G). Sideways from this edifice (L), nearer to (G), there is 
an immense pile of ruins. Among these ruins, which form 
the remains of a considerable building, are seen 5 stones 
21^ feet in height, covered with sculpture. They form 
the door-posts and part of the side-walls of a dilapidated 
building, which M. Lassen believes to be the hall of 
judgment. On each side of the entrance is the figure 
of the king, walking with two attendants; on the walls, 
however, he is represented sitting in state on his throne, 
which is borne by divers persons. Behind the king 
stands a dignitary dressed nearly like him. Finally, 
the last building towards the south on this platform 

* Niebuhr, tablet 30. 

• Cf. Niebuhr, *• Travels," p. 148. 



(K), contains a hall similar to the one described above. 
Though without side^chambers, still it has another hall 
in front. No inscription informs us of its use ; but 
on the walls we observe the king represented at one time 
as walking, and at another seated with his companions, 
and again we see the combats with fabulous beasts. 
Nothing can be stated as to the purposes of this building, 
and the hypothesis of Sir R. Ker Porter, that the sacred fire 
was here preserved^ cannot be supported by any evidence. 

These are the structures which constituted the great 
palace of Persepolis. We must add that the whole was 
liberally supplied with aqueducts, regarding which more 
accurate evidence is, nevertheless, wanting. That part of 
the castle which lay to the western side of the platform, 
and which was accessible by means of staircases, was 
probably occupied by the king and his family ; whilst those 
buildings which were situated lower down, and faced the 
east, must have been intended for public occasions. 
Guests were probably not admitted within the castle; 
suitable buildings for their accommodation in the neigh- 
bourhood were certainly not wanting at the time when 
the Persian kings kept court at Persepolis. 

The remaining relics of Persepolis consist of three 
dakhmaSy which are hewn in the side of the mountain 
towards which leans the terrace on which the castle stood. 
The first of these sepulchres lies to the east of the palace 
(L), the second only 400 paces further southward, the third 
a quarter of a league more to the south ; but the last was 
never finished. These sepulchres are cut half-way up 
the mountain*wall, about 300 feet above the level of the 
plain. Here the wall was cut smooth for the purpose. 
The fa9ade had four pilasters projecting 8 inches from the 
wall. On both sides of these columns stand 6 spearmen 
in three tiers one above another. Between the two 
middle columns is a door cut three inches deep. It was, 
indeed, an apparent door, since there was no real entrance 



through it. The shafts of the columns are crowned with 
the heads of double-bulls. Between these heads is the 
quadrangular head of a beam hewn in atone. On the 
columns rests an entablature, on which are represented 
the figures of i8 dogs or lions, 9 on each side, running 
in opposite directions, but separated in the middle by a 
lotus-flower. In the middle of this entablature a figure is 
seen raising one hand and holding a bow in the other. It 
is, no doubt, another likeness of a king. He stands before 
a fire-altar, over him soars the God Ahura Maxda. The 
other sepulchres have quite similar decorations, with some 
diflFerences of detail too unimportant to be noticed. None 
of them was intended to be opened from the front ; and 
we do not know in what way dead bodies were brought 
in. These dakhmas have now all been opened, though 
forcibly and in recent times ; they are found to contain cata- 
falques intended for the reception of biers. These catafalques 
are partly still in existence, and the marble, of which they 
are made, seems to have been brought there from distant 
places, since it is different from the mountain rock itself. 

That none of these dakhmas in the so-called '* Mountain 
of Sepulchres" near Persepolis belonged to the founder of 
the castle, the first liarius, nught be inferred from an 
account of Ctesias, who states {Pers. 18), that Darius 
L had, in his life-tinve, his dakhma constructed in the double 
mountain (eV t« dwrcrca ^pci), ; he wished to visit it himself, 
but was restrained from doing so by the Chaldeans 
and his parents. His parents, however, actually visited 
the dakhma, but fell down and died, because the 
priests who drew them up to it, at the sight of some 
serpents,, let go the ropes from terror. Now, this dakhma 
ot Darius has actually been found. It is situated about a 
league north of the village which stands on the site of the 
ancient Istakhr.* There we see, over against the rising 

* Ker Porter, vol. I. pp. 516 seq, Niebuhr,. II. pp. 155 seq. 


sun, a rock of white marble, about 200 paces in length, 
called Naqsh-i-Rustem by the natives ; and in it we find 
four dakhmas at nearly equal heights of from 60 to 
70 feet above the level of the plain. They are of similar 
architecture. The only inscription to be found belongs 
to the third, which we shall describe somewhat in detail 
instead of all the others. The base, the entrance, and the 
dakhma above it, give to the whole monument the form of 
a cross. The entrance does not differ from that of the 
sepulchres of Persepolis. Here also we see columns 
with heads of double-bulls, and between the two central 
columns is the shape of a door,' but the real opening, which 
is below, is a quadrangular aperture of 4 feet 6 inches in 
length. Above the frieze is the representation of a catafalque 
in two tiers borne by two rows of persons ( 14 in each row). 
On the top of the catafalque stands the king with his right 
hand raised and a bow in his left. He stands before the lire- 
altar ; between him and the fire appears Ahura Mazda 
hovering above, and a ball which is certainly meant to 
represent the Sun or Mithra. In the frame which surrounds 
this catafalque, stand six persons on each side of the king — 
on the right side men armed with spears, apparently body- 
guards, on the left persons who are supposed to represent 
mourners. Above some of the latter are short inscriptions 
indicating who they are. At the left of the king stands 
Gaubaruva (Gobryas), the lance-bearer of the king; below 
him Aspafana, * his arrow or bridle-keeper. Above one of the 
bearers of the royal throne is cut a name which may be 
Macya? Side by side with this image arc inscriptions in 
three different languages.* The first of these inscriptions 

* Ker Porter, plate 17. 

* [Aspithanes, the quiver-bearer of Darius I.] 

■ [Probably the Matienans mentioned by Herodotus, VII. 72]. 

* Since the statements of different writers contradict one another^ 
we cannot venture to determine its position. Comp. Rawlinson^ 
** Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,'* vol. X. p. 289, note. 


consists of 60 lines (commonly known as N.R. a); it is 
the real epitaph of Darius I., and consequently of later date 
than the other inscriptions ; the second, which is beneath 
the other (N.R. b), has been so mutilated by the fanaticism 
of the Mohammedans, that, except the beginning, it is no 
longer possible to decipher its contents. 

Not far from Naqsh-i-Rustem, near the village Hajiabad, 
are the ruins of a considerable edifice of the time of the 
Achaemenidae, but which has suffered too much injury to 
be now accurately traced. A column of great beauty is 
still standing ; similar ones lie broken and scattered about. 
They are popularly known as the throne of Jamshid.* Two 
buildings seem to have occupied the site. Still nearer 
to Naqsh-i-Rustem, and only about 35 paces distant 
from the first sepulchre, stands to this day a mys- 
terious edifice resembling a tower, likewise belonging 
to the Achaemenidae.^ It was built in the form of a 
square, with edges projecting like pilasters, each side 22 
feet 8 inches long and now about 35 feet high. The 
marble-blocks laid one above the other, each 3. J feet in 
height, formed ten (according to others fifteen) layers. 
The length of each marble-block is very great, so that there 
are never more than two of them, though varying in length, 
making up the entire length of each side of the tower. 
The architrave consists of a single colossal marble-block 
22 feet 8 inches long, prettily decorated with small beam- 
like extremities and quadrangular niches. The tower is 
walled in on all sides and has only towards the north a 
door 6 feet high, and 5 feet wide, surrounded by plainly 
decorated marble pillars. In the interior there is only one 
quadrilateral chamber with four sides, 12 feet by 12, and 
15 to 16 feet high. What purpose it served cannot now 
be made out. Finally, we ascribe also to the period of 

* Ker Porter, vol. I. pp. 514 sc^. 
' Ker Poller, vol. I. p. 562. 



the Achaemenidae the two fire-altars standing near one 
another,* in the neighbourhood of the Naqsh-i-Rustcm 
bas-reliefs, where the rock first turns towards the north, and 
then forms an amphitheatre extending towards the west. 
They stand on the same platform, are made of huge 
rocks, and have a height of from 12 to 14 feet. 

As to the monuments of the Achaemenidae outside 
Persepolis, we need but mention them briefly, since they 
have not, as specimens of art, the same importance as the 
mighty castle of Persepolis. The monument of Behistan, 
celebrated for its inscription, stands likewise on a rock, 
which rises nearly perpendicular from the plain to a height 
of 1,700 feet. Besides the inscriptions, there are also seen 
on this rock sculptures at such a height as to have been 
quite secure from mutilation by the Mohammedans, while 
they are perfectly visible from the plain. The Persain text 
of the inscription contains 4 16 lines (four columns containing 
95 lines each and the fifth only 36). There are also Scy- 
thian and Assyrian translations, which render the text 
accurately on the whole, with slight characteristic addi- 
tions here and there. In the middle of these inscriptions 
stands a bas-relief representing a scene in which king 
Darius is the conspicuous figure, which can easily be 
recognized. He wears the crown on his head, has his right 
hand raised and his left holding a bow. Behind him stand 
two dignitaries, of whom the one carries a bow, and the other 
a lance. The king is setting his foot on a prisoner lying 
on the ground. Before him stand nine persons with their 
hands tied behind them and all bound together by means 
of a rope. Short inscriptions inform us who is the person 
represented in each case. Above the whole scene hovers 
Ahura Mazda in the form in which he is commonly symbo- 
lized. Of the meaning of the whole scene we are sufficiently 
informed by the longer inscription. The captives are rebels. 

* Ker Porter, vol. I. p. 566. 


who were defeated and executed by Daruis I., against 
whom they had revolted. No edifice in the neighbourhood of 
the inscription gives us any clue to the reason why Darius 
was induced to set just here the chief of his inscriptions; 
moreover, the beauty of its environment has attracted all 
spectators, and Ctesias describes the mountain (Comp. 
Diodorus, 2, 13) under the name of Bagistanon,^ and 
erroneously ascribes the monuments on it to Semiramis. 
But the mountain was, he says, sacred to Zeus. The locality 
is well adapted to the planting of a park. It is, therefore, 
not improbable that Darius had here a park and a villa, 
where he resided when he sojourned in Media* Perhaps the 
memory of the defeat of the Median rebel Fravartis, which 
may have taken place not far from here, induced the king 
to immortalize his deeds on the very spot. There is yet a 
second monument of the Achaemenidae in Media, on Mount 
Alvend. It belongs both to Darius L and his son Xerxes. 
Since the later kings are said to have dwelt on Mount 
Alvend, it might perhaps be supposed that their pre- 
decessors did so likewise ; but such a hypothesis is not 
supported by the site of the inscription itself, for the way 
to the inscription-tablets leads from Hamadan through a 
mountain delile now called Abbds&b&d. It is watered by 
a mountain-torrent and well cultivated at first, but it soon 
grows wild and lonely, until you come at last to a waterfall 
which dashes down a rocky wall of red marble. On the 
southern side of this marble-wall there are two niches, and 
in them the two inscriptions of Darius and Xerxes, 
generally known as (O) and (F). Of an inscription, which 
Darius caused to be cut on his Egyptian canal we have 
spoken already before.'-' It is composed in four languages 

* Bagis/dnon, i. e. ihe resort of ihe Deity, is the original form 
of the modern name Behistan, of which the form Behistun, otten 
used, is a mere corrupiion, occurring as early as in Yaqut. 

• [ Vide Spiegel, L\A. vol. III. p. 665 : " Nor is the completion 
of the Egyptian Canal, the construction of which was begun 


and there are several repetitions, but unfortunately it is 
not in a good state of preservation. 

Nor is the last monument of the two Achaemenian 
kings so often named, which is found in the remote north, 
near the town of Van in Armenia, without interest. It 
proves that Darius I. as well as Xerxes I. must have 
resided there. An inscription of Xerxes in three languages 
(K) stands on ^a steep rocky wall, which rises directly from 
the plain near Van, and which is now crowned by a Turkish 
fortress. The inscription is engraved where the rock is 
steepest, about 60 feet above the ground, but the 
characters are so beautiful and distinct that they can be 
read without difficulty .from the plain. The inscription 
tells us that Darius I. here erected several magnificent 
palaces {sldna), and had also fixed upon a place for an 
inscription, which he had not caused to be executed during 
his life-time. It was only Xerxes, who, after his accession 
to the throne, ordered an inscription to be engraved there. 

Since it was probably Darius I., who transferred the 
residence of the Achaemenidae from Persepolis to Susa, we 
should expect to find nH)numents of his activity principally 
in the latter town. But here the ravages of time have 
spared none of his buildings, nor any of those which 
preceded the Persian conquest ; for we know that the Susa 
here mentioned, must be the very ancient town which had, 
already before the foundation of the Persian empire, sus- 
tained many a siege under the Assyrian kings. The place 
where it once stood, has been discovered by the English 
traveller^ Mr. Loftus." According to him, it lay between 

by Ramses II., continued by Necho, but finished as far as the Red 
Sea by Darius, of less importance. Near this canal there are 
several sculptured monuments with hierogl3rphic and cuneiform 
characters, amongst which stands an inscription of Darius in Old 
Persian/* TV. «.] 

* Comp. Loftus' ** Travels and Researches in Chaldea and 
Susiana," pp. 342 srg. 

VOL. 11. Z 7 



the Kerkha and the Dizful, in a level country where the 
distance between these two rivers diminishes to two 
English miles and a half. The ruins of this town lie 
about three-fourths of an English mile distant from the 
Kerkha, and about one mile and a half from the Dizful. 
During the period of its prosperity artificial canals must 
have supplied the necessary water, at the same time adding 
to its military strength. The dilapidated structures on the 
hills of Susa can by no means be compared with the gran** 
deur of the ruins of Persepolis. Nevertheless Mr. Loftus 
has succeeded in finding among its remains the ruins of a 
palace, totally destroyed, which had some resemblance to 
the palace of Persepolis, like which it also stood on a high 
terrace. Traces of its columns are still seen rising on a 
fa9ade of 330 feet in length, the breadth of the building being 
264 feet. In the middle there is a group of 36 columns in 
six rows, evidently the remains of a pillared hall of the kind 
common in Persepolis. Here also the bases of the columns 
are not everywhere similar; those of the principal hall 
are quadrangular, the others round, while the capitals were, 
it seems, of the same description as in Persepolis, but 
more elaborate and more like their models in wood. Four 
columns of the principal hall bore the Persepolis inscrip- 
tions in three languages ; whereof the Persian text faced 
the south, the Scythian the west, the Assyrian the east. 
Although they have been much injured, yet antiquarians 
have succeeded in deciphering easily the Persian text (S). 
These inscriptions were engraved by order of Artaxerxes 
11. and record that the edifice {apadana) was founded 
by Darius I., continued by Artaxerxes I., and finished by 
Artaxerxes II. Close to it there seems to have been 
erected a temple dedicated to Anahita, as we find in 
several parts of the ruins a number of images of that 
yazata in terra cotta. 

Besides architectural monuments^ whatever antiquities 
we possess of the age of the Achaemenidae, are limited to 



some vases and seals bearing inscriptions in cuneiform 
characters. One of the seals probably belonged to Darius L 
The vases come from Egypt and bear the name of 
Xerxes in four languages (Egyptian, Persian, Scythian, 
and Assyrian). 

We shall conclude our examination of the works of art 
belonging to this epoch with some general observations. 
Notwithstanding the long time that has elapsed since the 
destruction of these old palaces, their outlines have still 
been preserved. This is owing to the fact that the 
Achaemenian princes employed, in their architecture, 
particularly stone, and not wood or brick, as was generally 
the custom in Assyria and Babylon. A peculiarity of these 
palaces consists in their splendid staircases leading from 
one storey to another. It is remarkable that the 
Persians are the only people of antiquity, 
who knew how to make architectural use 
of staircases. Moreover, it might be regarded as a 
defect in these structures that the floor is quite superfluously 
overloaded with columns, and further that the capitals of 
these columns followed too strictly their wooden originals.^ 
Among the bas-reliefs, the pictures of the king, sitting and 
walking, furnish a useful supplement to the descriptions of 
the ancients. We learn from them that the umbrella and 
fly-ilap were already in olden times looked upon as 
emblems of royalty, and it is very probable that they may 
have been imported from India. The Avesta never speaks 
of these two insignia; while in the Book of Kings the 
umbrella has an Indian name C/H*), and even in one 
passage of the text it is expressly styled Indian. Further, we 
may conclude from these sculptures that the royal throne 
of Persia was not covered with cushions, but that it 
was simply a chair quite similar to the royal chairs used in 
Europe* In this, as well as in other points, it is shown 

* Fergusson, I. pp. 189, 199. 


that Old-Iranian art is closely allied to Assyrian art 
which IS more modern.* The throne of Darius is, indeed, 
very similar to that of Sennacherib;" nevertheless, these 
two kings have very little resemblance in other respects. 
While Sennacherib leans on the bow in his right hand, 
holding two arrows in his left, the Persian king has in his 
right hand a stafF, which has long since been acknowledged 
to be a sceptre, and in his left he holds an object that 
has been variously explained as a cup, or a lotus, or a 
nosegay. The last explanation seems to me the most 
probable, since in later descriptions, we find the king 
represented as holding a quince in his hand. On the 
sepulchral monuments as well as on the sculptured rock 
of Behistan, we have observed king Darius holding a 
bow in his hand. The Parthian kings are likewise said 
to have held a bow while giving audience. In the image 
of Ahura Mazda the type of Assyrian art is still more 
apparent than in the figure of the king. Ahura Mazda is 
commonly represented in the form of a man having the 
tiara on his head. He is surrounded by a circle, to which 
are attached outspread wings. In some places the human 
figure is wanting, and the circle with the wings alone 
suffices for the symbol of the Supreme Being. Nor is 
such an emblem originally Iranian; it is found frequently 
in ancient monuments in Egypt, but especially in Assyria, 
where the god Assur is exhibited in similar form.' 
Thus the idea of representing Ahura Mazda is of 
foreign origin, for the Persians could not consistently 
represent Him, as they regarded any attempt to picture the 
Deity as folly. The same dependence upon Assyrian 
art is shown also in the colossal figures of animals, 
which adorned the portals of the Achaemenian kings, the 

* Vaux, " Niniveh and Persepolis," p. 330. 
' Vide the illustration in M^nant, p. 82. 

• Q: Mfoant, p. 87. 


models of which have been discovered particularly among 
the ruins of Khorsabad. I am inclined, however^ to believe 
that on the Assyrian model was grafted an Iranian 
idea, though foreign to the original type. Perhaps the 
Persian colossal beasts were intended to represent Mithra 
and the Sun-horses, for the Iranians venerated their king 
as the representative of Mithra on earlh. Much perplexity 
has always been caused by these fabulous beasts, which 
are seen sculptured in the various halls of the palace of 
Persepolis, as being on the point of fighting with some 
person, probably the king. In one place we see the king 
seizing such an animal by its horns and thrusting a dagger 
into its breast. The body of the animal itself seems to 
have been made up of different parts of various beasts. 
It has the head of an eagle. Half its back is covered with 
feathers. It is standing erect and laying its forefeet on 
the right arm and breast of the king. No less remarkable 
is a second beast; its head seems to be that of a wolf, 
the forepart of the body and the forefeet belong to 
a lion, the hindfeet to an eagle. Its body is mostly 
covered with feathers, while its tail resembles that of 
a scorpion. In a third place the king is seen to raise 
a lion-cub from the ground and to fondle it. A fourth 
beast has a horn on its forehead, a collar round its 
neck, and hoofs like those of a horse or bull. But it is 
without wings, while its long tail ends in a tuft of hair. 
In all these pictures the king constantly appears in the 
same calm attitude. At one time these beasts have been 
thought to be fabulous animals, at another people have 
sought to explain them from the Avesta, though without 
success. Here also the Persian figures are apparently 
connected with Babylonian models;^ however, it is my 
conviction that these are not mere hunting scenes, the 
fabulous beasts are incompatible with such a theory. Here 

^ Comp. Menant, p. 62. 



also, I believe, Iranian ideas underlie symbols of foreign 
origin, and M. Lassen may be right in considering these 
fabulous beasts to be monsters corresponding to those 
mentioned in the inscription (H) — personified evils and 
vices suppressed without any difficulty by the king's just 

It has already been stated above Chat the history of the 
development of Iranian art shows a gap, which begins 
with the last period of the Achaemenidae and ends with 
the rise of the Sassanidae. So we are, for a space of six 
centuries,, without any information about Iranian art; 
nevertheless, following Mr. G. Rawlinson's example,* we 
venture here to give a description of the ruins of Hathra. 
We cannot, it is true, assert with certainty, yet we may 
suppose with probability, that they belong to the period of 
the Arsacidae. The town of Hathra did not lie in the Par- 
thian territory properly so-called ; still it had its own kings 
who were tributary to the Parthians. The town was well 
fortified and we know that Trajan as well as Severus failed 
to capture it ; however, it cannot have long survived the 
dynasty of the Arsacidae. When Ammianus Marcellinus 
(25, 8, 5), visited the spot in 363 A.D., he found the town 
in ruins; and it may, therefore, be true, as some of the 
Oriental writers relate, that Hathra was destroyed under 
Shapur I. So this town, whose ruins still exist, must have 
been destroyed in the first half of the third century A. D. 
The ruins of Hathra are about an English mile in 
diameter.^ They are surrounded by a nearly circular wall 
of considerable thickness, the strength of which was 
further increased by towers erected at intervals of 60 paces. 
Outside the wall is a deep trench, which is now dry, and 

* "The Sixth Monarchy," pp. 372 seg. 

■ With the following compare Ross, " Journey from Baghdad 
to Al Hadhr" in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 
vol. IX. pp. 467 seg, ; and also Fergusson, vol. I. pp. 378 seg. 



beyond this ditch is again a thick wall. The space inclosed 
within them is divided by a channel, running from north to 
south, into two unequal halves, the larger half lying on 
the western, the smaller on the eastern side. The latter 
does not seem to have been inhabited, and was, I believe, 
used as a burial-ground. But towards the west there are 
heaps of ruins, among which those in the middle of the 
circle are the most considerable. They seem to belong to 
a palace and a temple,^ and lie in a space inclosed by 
walls, forming an oblong quadrangle 4ioo feet long and 
700 broad. The principal edifice seems to have had 
its entrance from the east, with a small wing lying on 
the west. It contained four small and three large 
chambers, and a room behind one of the large and 
three of the small ones. The large halls are 60, 
feet high, 90 feet long, and 35 to 40 paces broad. They 
seem to have been vaulted but had no windows, 
only receiving light by means of the seven great doors 
leading into the edifice. The outside of the chief facade 
is decorated with pillars on which are carved heads of men 
and women. Between the fourth and fifth doors stands 
a gryphon. The inside of the small apartments (30 it long 
and 20 ft. broad) has no decorations whatever. In the 
large chambers, however, are seen pillars ornamented at both 
ends, and two or three feet below the ceiling an orna- 
mental border running all round, with two or three human 
heads carved beneath it.* The palace, like almost all the 
structures in that town, is built of limestone. The temple 
itself seems to have been surrounded by a vaulted passage 
into which light entered through two windows. The gate 
of this temple had a fine frieze bearing, I believe, a 
religious significance ; the interior is without any decoration. 

* Not a temple, but a staircase, according to Fergusson (vol. I. 

P- 379)- 

■ C/. the illustration in Ross, 


It IS probable, though uncertain, that this edifice had 
formerly an upper storey. The whole seems to have some 
resemblance to the Taq-i-Kesra, mentioned in Ktesiphon. 
Perhaps the Parthian palace, which was destroyed by the 
Romans, was similar in appearance. The ruins of Hathra 
lead us to assume that it was built entirely after a Roman 
model. Nevertheless, its execution is so clumsy that we 
cannot possibly suppose that it was erected under the 
superintendence of a Roman architect.' 

To the Parthian period are also attributed, with great 
probability, some bas-reliefs, which M. Bode has discovered 
in Susiana. They are seen in Teng-i-Salekin the province 
of Bakhtiy&ris. A' group of 15 persons is arranged in 
two rows. The first person in each row is sitting, the 
rest are standing. They surround a figure, which appears 
to represent a Magus, and which is comparatively in a state 
of good preservation. It wears trowsers, and over them 
an upper garment with sleeves and a knot over the breast, 
a pointed cap on the head, and a beard on its chin and 
upper lip. Besides, it wears plaited hair, which specially 
points to the Arsacian and Sassanian periods, whilst the 
more ancient and graceful arrangement of the hair in 
curls IS Median (Xen. Cyrop. K 32).^ The figure has 
its left hand on its breast, the right one is raised, beside 
it stands on a stone — some object formed like a sugar- 
loaf — adorned with garlands and ribbons. To the same 
period, likewise, pertains a second bas-relief, representing 
a rider in his long garment, just as he pierces with a spear 
an animal, probably a bear, rushing against him, while he 
holds a bow in his left hand. Here also appears under 
the tiara the rich hair characteristic of later times. On 
the same rock we observe also a third bas-relief, which 

* This is the opinion of Fergusson. 

• Herodotus, too, speaks of the long hair of the Persians 



seems to picture a woman reposing on a couch and holding 
in her hand a garland. Her rich hair is dressed in the 
ordinary manner ; beside her stand three men, one without 
weapons by her couch, and two others at her feet holding 
spears. That these bas-reliefs really belong to the Parthian 
period cannot positively be determined. More doubtful still 
is the question regarding another monument yet unde- 
scribed. The rock of Behist&n contains, along with the 
inscriptions of Darius I., also a bas-relief of more recent 
date, but greatly damaged.* We can here make out another 
group of riders armed with lances, one of whom is crowned 
with an image of the Goddess of Victory. This bas-relief 
has been ascribed- to the Parthian period, because of a 
Greek inscription, which is no less mutilated than the 
whole monument, but of which the following words can 
still be read distinctly : — aa*A2ATH2 MiOPATHsnEr {ALPHA- 
SATES MITHRATESPEG) and further down the 
words : — roTAPZHs satpahhs ton SATPAn {GOTARZES 
SA TRAPES TON SATRAP) and quite at the end: 
As regards Alphasates, I am at one with Mr. G. Rawlinson 
in assuming that we should regard "it as another form of 
the name Arpakhshad.* But if from the name of Gotarzes 
it might be concluded that that inscription owes its origin to 
the Arsacian king of that name, I cannot assent to such an 
opinion; for the Gotarzes mentioned above does not call 
himself Great-King, but " Satrap of the Satraps," a title, 
which though otherwise uncommon, is identical with the 
Greek traTpdinjs iMyiaravoiv ('* the Satrap of the Chiefs '*), which 
is assumedbyBehramChobin(Theophyl. 4, 7). The Arsacian 
Gotarzes is, furthermore, a son to Artabanus III,; and the 
concluding words of the inscription can, therefore, only 

* Ker Porter, vol. II. pp. 151 seq. Rawlinson, Journal of the 
Royal Geographical Society y vol. IX. p. 1 14. 
■ Cf. Rawlinson, ibid^ vol. IX, p. in. 
VOL. II. Z 8 


imply that this Gotarzes was a son of Geo, 1. e, G6v. Now 
in the Book of Kings, G^v is really the son and not the father 
of Gudarz, which proves that the inscription does not, indeed, 
refer to the Gudarz of the legend. But, since the two names 
occur rather frequently, there may have been a Gotarzes, 
whose father was named G^v. And since it was also the 
custom of the Sassanian kings to engrave their bas-reliefs 
side by side w^ith the Achaemenian monuments^ I am so 
much the more inclined to transfer this bas-relief to the 
period of the Sassanidae^ as Mr. G. Rawlinson has also 
found similar Sassanian architectural monuments in its 
neighbourhood. As regards the use of the Greek language 
in this case, it is w^ell known that even on the monuments 
of the first Sassanidae we meet with Greek inscriptions. 

More doubtful still is a bas-relief found near Holv4n. 
It represents a rider to whom a garland is being presented 
by a man standing near him. Beside it is engraved rather 
a long inscription in unknown characters, which have not 
yet been deciphered, and so no definite opinion can 
possibly be formed about it. The same is the case with 
regard to the bas-reliefs seen by M. Ferrier in the country 
of the Aimaks and the Hazares, the date of which will 
surely be determined by future investigations. To various 
ancient relics found in Warka and Niffer,' such as biers, 
vessels of glass or clay, etc., a Parthian origin has been 
ascribed ; but here also the matter is not decided. 

Our position becomes somewhat more satisfactory when 
we turn to the Sassanian period ; however, its palaces 
and bas-reliefs cannot be considered collectively like those 
of the Achaemenian epoch, becuse they are scattered over 
different places. Of the Sassanian buildings so few have 
survived, that we cannot say much regarding architectural 
development in their time. The reason may be, that the 

* Cf. Layard, **Niniveh and Babylon," p. S58. Loftus, 
'* Chaldea and Susiana, " pp. 202, 214. 



Sassanidae were not peculiarly inclined to erect great 
edifices, or perhaps that their palaces lay, for the most part, 
in the low country near the Tigris, and so may have been 
mostly built of brick. The Sassanidae had, indeed, adopted 
the models exhibited in the buildings of Hathra,' yet in 
course of time such very considerable changes were intro- 
duced, that a perfectly new style arose among them. The 
large tunnel-like halls of Hathra were retained, but they only 
served for entrances. The separating walls were pierced 
by lofty arches, and so was formed a row of chambers. 
Furthermore, the Sassanidae knew how to adorn their 
halls with cupolas. Their buildings are always oblong 
quadrangles, with great doors in the middle, which form 
the chief entrance, and are as broad as the halls to which 
they lead. The chambers are joined to one another 
without passages between, so that we can pass directly 
from one to the other. Each of the Sassanian palaces 
contains an interior court whence one can find entrance 
to all the rooms adjoining it. The depth of the buildings 
varies, being sometimes not much greater than the breadth, 
at others twice as great. In some cases the exterior wall, 
which, as a rule, contains several doors, has but a single 
entrance. The chief entrance, however, is always in the 
middle of the front; from it we can look into the entire 
edifice in the T&q-i-Kesra to a depth of 1 15 feet. The 
cupolas or domes, which are numerous in these structures, 
are full of small apertures, which serve to admit light. In 
the walls there were also windows. The oldest and 
smallest of these palaces is that of Serbistan erected, 
according to Mr. Fergusson, in 350 A.D.^ It is entered 
by three deep tunnel-like openings between which there 
are groups of three semi-circular pilasters, each extremity 

* C/, Fergusson, vol. I. pp. 382 se^., and particularly G. Raw^ 
linson, "The Seventh Monarchy, " pp. 580 seg. 
■ 6/. Fergusson, vol. I. p. 386. 

260 APPENDfX. 

having again a single pilaster. The length of the palace 
is 138 feet, the breadth 122 feet. The entrances face the 
west. Through them we reach the halls, of which the 
central one at the principal entrance has the least 
depth. Thence we enter the largest chamber, which 
is vaulted. On the other side of this large chamber 
there is a court upon which doors open fron^ the various 
apartments. The large chamber leads also into halls 
towards the north and south* — The palace of FirAzabad,, 
which must have been built, according to Mr. Fergusson, 
about 450 A.D., is larger. It is about 390 ft. long and 
180 ft. broad; it has only one entrance, a large gate, 
which is about 50 feet high and faces the north. It leads 
first into a vaulted hall, 90 ft. long and 43 ft. broad*. 
On each side there are two similar chambers, though 
smaller in size. We next enter through small but ele- 
gant doors three vaulted chambers which occupy the 
whole breadth of the edifice, each about 43 feet square, the 
vault rising 70- feet high. The door and false windows-— 
the latter being intended only for ornament — point to the 
influence of the Persepolitan style. These vaulted chambers 
lead again into some smaller apartments and thence into a 
court 90 feet square, into which open again various apart- 
ments decorated on the inside with false windows, which, 
however, are executed far less skilfully than those in the 
vaulted chambers. The exterior of the palace was very 
prettily adorned by means of long narrow arches and 
long cylindrical pilasters. The whole has an appear* 
ance of stern simplicity, and is altogether less hand- 
some than the smaller palace in Scrbistfi.n. The most 
spacious of the Sassanian palaces is the celebrated Taq- 
i-Kesra, the only surviving relic of the ancient Ktesiphon. 
The Oriental historiographers, who regard it as a 
marvel of splendour, sometimes ascribe it to Khosrav 
I. and sometimes to Khosrav II. It was probably 
founded about 550 A.D., and, therefore, only begun 


under Khosrav I.' What remains of it, is a mere 
fragment, and it is impossible to restore the plan of the 
whole structure. The fagade resembles that of the palace 
of Flruzabad, but is much more splendid, being 370 ft. 
broad and 105 ft. high. The remains still in existence 
compose the entrance and a vaulted hall, 72 ft. broad^ 85 ft. 
high, and 115 ft. deep; and we might here assume that there 
likewise stood chambers on both sides as in the other 
palaces. A similar relic in Iran itself is the Takht-i-Bost&n, 
which we shall describe below. Another Sassanian palace 
was unexpectedly discovered a short time ago at Mashita in 
the country of Moab.^ It must have been erected by Khosrav 
II., about the time when this sovereign marched victorious 
to the neighbourhood of Byzantium, and it proves that 
this king strove to retain all the conquests he had then made. 
The whole palace is an extensive quadrangle of 500 ft. in 
each direction, but only the interior portion of about 170 
feet square was completed. The palace was evidently 
intended to be a hunting-seat for the king near the 
edge of the desert. It is built of brick quite after the model 
of the other Sassanian palaces. A vaulted hall, which 
was formerly crowned by a cupola, forms the centre. 
There are also on each side eight chambers, with courts 
between them. The entrance lay on the north side, whence 
three vaulted doorways, separated only by columns of hard 
white stone, led into the building. The capitals of these 
columns are like those which came into fashion in the age 
of the Emperor Justinian, a circumstance which helps us to 
determine the date of the edifice. A second building is 
separated from the first by a court of nearly 200 feet 
square; but it seems to have been intended for other 

* According to Theophylactus (5, 6 seq,) Justinian sent to 
Khosrav I. Greek workmen as well as the materials for the erec- 
tion of his palace. 

• Comp. H. B. Tristram, '* The Land of Moab" (London, 1873), 
pp. 195 seq, Mashita (lil«) means *' winter-quarters.'* 


purposes. Probably it contained rooms for the guards. 
The exterior of this palace is much more ornate than the 
other palaces of the Sassanidae^ which evidently proves 
that Greek workmen were specially employed in building 
it, as was no doubt the case when the Sassanidae erected 
palaces within the limits of their own empire. The Book 
of Kings does not at all deny that Greek, as well as Indian 
workmen, were employed in constructing the T&q-i-Kesra. 
We know that Khosrav I. carried off the finest works of 
art of Damascus into his own country, when that city was 
destroyed; so it is thereby acknowledged that Iranian 
artists could not vie with those of Greece. 

We shall now consider the bas-reliefs of the Sassanidae, 
which we find for the most part in the neighbourhood of 
the Achaemenian monuments, a clear proof that the first 
Sassanidae were still very probably conscious of their 
connection with the older Southern Iranian dynasty. It 
is especially in Persis that we meet with monuments of 
that kind. If we pass from Murghab to Persepolis, we 
find the first Sassanian monument in the valley of 
H^jiabad, which is bounded on the western side by the 
rocks of Naqsh-i-Rustem. An English mile north of this 
village, we observe in a rocky cavern a long inscription 
of Shapur I., without any other monuments of art. These 
begin at first with Naqsh-i-Rustem itself. On the same 
rock on which the Achaemenian sepulchres are found, 
though only a little lower, we meet with six bas-reliefs 
of the Sassanian period, of which the first is seen after 
passing the easternmost sepulchre. The two principal 
figures face each other, and each holds a garland trimmed 
with ribbons.^ According to more ancient drawings, the 
ribbons are shown to have hung down over the figure of 
a child, which has now become quite indistinct. The 
person holding the garland with his right hand is the 

» Cf, Ker Porter, vol. I. p. 530» and the illustration, pi. i6. 



king, who wears a balloon-like cap with streaming ribbons, 
such as are often seen on coins. The hair of his head is 
rich and flowing, as is common with the Sassanidae. In 
his ear he wears a pearl. His wide garment is kept 
together by means of a girdle. The second figure has 
been variously explained as that of a woman or a eunuch. 
It wears a mural crown for head-dress with flowers and 
fluttering ribbons; the hair hangs down the shoulders in 
plaits. A third person behind the king, with a raised fore- 
finger and a Phrygian cap, which appears to terminate in 
the head of a horse, is generally considered to be a servant. 
Some believe they recognize in the figure of the king a 
resemblance to the image of Vararan V. on his coins. 
Since Sir R. Ker Porter wrote, it has, therefore, been 
assumed that we have here a picture of this Vararan, and 
Sir George Ousely also believes he has made out the name 
of that king in a long inscription which stands by the side 
of this bas-relief. As we not unfrequently meet with similar 
pictures, I must here remark that the garland or ring, 
appearing on these monuments, seems to me to be no other 
than what we observe, in the older monuments, in the 
hand of Ahura Mazda, possibly a symbol of the Empire of 
the Universe. Hence it follows that the second figure 
that holds the ring, may have been intended to represent 
a deity ; for I do not believe that the Sassanidae were 
specially inclined to share the honour of their victories 
with any human creature. The person standing behind 
the king might also be regarded rather as a divine 
than a human being ; it certainly represents a supernatural 

On the second bas-relief is figured a combat,* in which 
an Iranian king, perhaps the same as in the foregoing, 
pushes with his lance a retreating enemy before him. 
Behind the king is carried a standard. The ordinary 

* Ker Porter, vol. I. p. S37 and pi. 20. 


supposition, that it represents the victory of Vararan V, 
over the sovereign of Turan, seems to me to be very 

The third bas-relief is one of the best known, and imitations 
of it are found elsewhere .too.^ It pictures an Iranian 
king crowned and on horseback. His left hand is laid 
on the pommel of his sword, while with his right he holds 
the hands, covered with sleeves, of a man standing 
near him. The latter wears the Roman costume. So, 
too, does a second figure, that kneels in a suppliant 
attitude before the king. The same figure appears again 
behind the king as in the first bas-relief. It is commonly 
believed that we have here the scene of the capture of the 
emperor Valerian by Shapur II., in which the kneeling 
figure is the emperor himself, while the one standing is 
Cyriades, who was put into his place. Since the same 
picture occurs again in the ruins of Shapur and D&rdbgerd^ 
this supposition is to a certain extent probable. 

The fourth bas-relief is much like the second ;^ but here 
the lance of the retreating adversary is broken. The 
crown of the king, which diflfers entirely from the ordinary 
shape, is of some interest. 

In the fifth bas-relief there again appear two riders with 
the ring.' Here we find inscriptions, too, which inform us 
that the horseman, who wears the mural crown, is Ahura 
Mazda, and that the second one who receives the ring as 
the emblem of royalty, and behind whom stands a person 
with a fly-flap, is no other than Ardeshir I., the founder 
of the Sassanian dynasty. Beneath the feet of each rider 
lies a king, evidently dead. The one on the side of Ahura 
Mazda wears serpents instead of hair ; he may be supposed 
to be a usurper. 

* Ker Porter, p. 540 and pi. 21. 

* Ihid, vol. I. p. 544 and pi. 22. 

* Ibid, p. 548 and pi. 23. 



Lastly, the sixth bas-relief pictures a king, standing on 
a kind of platform, with his nobles seated round him.' 

Advancing further from the rock of Naqsh-i-Rustem in 
the direction of Persepolis, we come first to the inconsider- 
able ruins of Istakhr, the ancient capital of Iran^ the strong 
citadel of which was built upon a mountain. According to 
Oriental opinion the Sassanian kings were reluctant to 
build on the very ruins of their predecessors, and, therefore, 
established their new residence in their immediate neigh- 
bourhood. Between Istakhr and Chihilminar there is, on 
the sepulchral mountain of Persepolis, a roofless grotto 
cut in the rock, having its three walls on the north, south, 
and east covered with sculpture.* On the southern wall 
we find again a representation of the two riders holding a 
riirg; but the engraving is not so skilful, and evidently 
executed by less practised hands. Besides Ahura Mazda 
and the king, all the other subordinate characters are here 
wanting. On the eastern wall we find a repetition of the 
scene including the attendants, but here the two principal 
characters are standing. On the northern wall we see the 
picture of a horseman together with his attendants on foot* 
The heads of the rider and of the horse have been effaced ; 
but the inscriptions record that Shapur I. is here repre- 

To Persis belong a few more bas-reliefs found by Sir R. 
Ker Porter in the neighbourhood of Shiraz.' One group 
consists of a woman holding her flowing veil in the left 
hand, and stretching out the right one to a person who is 
offering her a flower. As the latter wears no crown, I 
doubt whether it is the figure of the king or not. The 
image of the Sassanian king appears twice on the same 
wall, in the usual manner, but badly executed, 

' Ker Porter, p. 551 and pi. 24. 
* Ibidt p. 371, pi. 27. Niebuhr, pi. 32 A. 
' Ibid^ p. 706, pi. S7- 
VOL. II. Z 9 


Finally, we must again mention here the ruins of the 
city named Shilpfir. They are six leagues distant from the 
town of K&zerfin, on a mountain to the north, in a 
romantic neighbourhood. The ruins have a circumference 
of about two leagues. On a rising ground which is 
at right angles to the eastern side of the mountain, but 
quite isolated, are the ruins of a castle, which seems to 
have had mighty towers and walls covered with bas-reliefs 
of the Sassanian period. In the first we see the horsemen, 
already familiar to us, and a man lying prostrate at their 
feet. The figures are colossal, but are much damaged by 
time. Before one of the riders kneels a man in a suppli- 
cating posture. The second bas-relief is by far more 
important and is divided into nine panels. In the middle 
panel the king appears on horseback, wearing the Sassa- 
nian crown and the coifFure waving behind. Underneath 
the hoofs of his horse is again the outstretched corpse of a 
vanquished enemy. Before him kneels a man in Roman 
costume, while two figures stand behind, one of which is 
beardless and wears a Phrygian cap. The king is holding 
the hands of a man in Roman costume, while a winged 
genius hovers above him. Perhaps in earlier times there was 
also an inscription. In the second of the principal panels, 
which is to the left side of the middle one, are two divisions, 
each of which contains six figures on horseback, all raising 
the right hand and the fore-finger. They are the suite 
of the king, probably his counsellors. The third panel, 
on the right of the middle one, has six sub-divisions, 
each with three persons carrying various articles, which 
seem to be partly building implements, partly presents. 
These figures, like those of the middle panel, have a height 
of 5 ft. 9 inches, while the riders on the left of the king are 
only of about half this height. Some more bas-reliefs are 
found on the opposite bank of a little river. Here we see, 
in a relief divided into five panels, the king in the midst, 
and represented, which is indeed exceptional, en face* rfc 


grasps with his left hand his sword ; his right is stretched 
out. As to the two divisions on his right the characters in 
the uppermost tier raise their hands and fore-fingers ; in 
the second are probably servants, one of whom holds a 
richly caparisoned horse by the bridle. On the left side 
of the king are two more rows of persons, the chief of 
whom carries two human heads^ while a little boy clings to 
the skirt of his garment. The fourth panel again exhibits 
the images of two colossal riders holding the coronal ring, 
which are said to be particularly well executed. The fifth 
relief is a hunting-piece, but much damaged. We recognize 
in it the person of the king on horseback^ with a bow 
and two arrows in his hand as well as the heads of men, 
horses, and camels. 

A hundred steps further there is another relief cut in 
a concave form. Its subject seems to be very much the 
same as that of the second and third reliefs. The middle 
piece, which takes up the greatest space, exhibits the 
ordinary picture of the victorious king with a dead body 
lying at his feet^ and the Roman kneeling by the side of 
his horse. But here we have beside the king a man in 
Sassanian costume, offering the coronal ring to the king. 
Farther to the right there stand, in the first row, a number 
of persons with folded arms ; in the second and third rows 
persons carrying baskets, etc. ; while in the corner is a man 
leading a lion by a chain. In the fourth row, directly 
opposite to the king, are six persons in loose plaited gar- 
ments, who might, therefore, be supposed to be Indians. 
They carry various objects, or lead different animals, such 
as horses, elephants, &c. Amongst them we see men 
in Roman costume, and a chariot with two horses harnessed 
to it. On the left side there are five troops of riders, who are 
apparently the king's retinue. Finally, we have to mention 
a finely constructed edifice which is a quarter of a league 
from the sixth relief. Near its entrance there formerly stood 
several sphinxes, some traces of which may still be recognized. 


In Media, as in Persis, the Sassanian kings erected their 
monuments close to those of their ancestors. About two 
farasangs or four miles from Behistdn, towards the town of 
Kirmanshah, we still observe the scanty remains of a palace 
which Mr. G. Rawlinson ascribes to the Sassanians. 
Eight or nine bases and capitals are all that may still be 
seen ; but the distance of the first of these ruinous bases 
from the last is about 300 paces, and it, therefore, seems 
that an edifice of considerable size must have previously 
stood here. On the same mountain tract, which contains 
the monuments of Darius, but farther to the west, towards 
Kirmanshah, there are sculptured engravings which are 
now known by the name of Taq-i-Bostan, i>,, the *' Vault 
of the Garden," or also of Takht-i-Bostan, *' Throne of the 
Garden.'^ The romantic narratives of the modern Persians 
profess to give the name of the artist, to whom we owe these 
monuments. He is supposed to have been called Ferhad 
and to have loved ShirJn, the beautiful wife of Khosrav 
II. In her honour, it is said, Ferh&d executed these 
figures and erected the adjoining structures. — Here we 
must remark that the Book of Kings does not give the 
least hint of this romantic love-story, * which seems to have 
been invented in later times and without any historical 
foundation. — The carvings begin at a place where a 
limpid brook rushes forth from the rocky wall and flows 
into the river Kar4-sfi. Above this brook there is a relief 
called by the neighbouring people the " Relief of the Four 
Calenders.^' ^ It contains the figures of four men, one of 
whom lies prostrate on the ground. Over his head stands 
another figure wearing a mural crown surmounted with 
the ornamental ball, so common among the Sassanians, 
and a necklace of pearls and a diadem. The hair is thick. 

* The story is briefly related in the Persian Tabari (2, p. 298), 
and at length by Ker Porter (vol. II. pp. \^9seq,) 

Comp. Ker Porter, vol. II. pp. 169, 191 seq. and pi. 66. 


A light flowing garment is fastened together over the breast 
and a girdle goes round the waist. The others are similarly 
dressed. The second person wears a close-fitting helmet 
with the Sassanian ball, and four ribbons of unequal length 
fluttering behind. Both hold the well-known coronal ring ; 
and, I believe, we do not err if we regard the first to be 
Ahura Mazda, and the second to be a Sassanian king. 
Behind the king we observe a person with a great halo 
round his head and a kind of sceptre in his hand, standing 
perhaps on a sun-flower. In my opinion the image 
represents Mithra, the guardian yazata of the royal family.* 
Not far from the bas-relief just described, a staircase 
leads to a platform, whereon we discover the traces of a 
statue, which must formerly have stood there. The broken 
statue itself lies in the rivulet below and is the figure of a 
king. But the most precious monuments are engraved in 
two grottoes at the foot of the rock.^ The larger one is 24 
feet broad, 21 feet deep, and the vault is 50 feet high. The 
walls of the grotto are neatly polished. The entrance to 
the hall is through a vaulted gate, as is generally the case 
in Sassanian palaces. Over the arch there is a half-moon, 
on either side of which is a figure quite resembling an 
angel holding in the one hand the well-known coronal 
ring, in the other probably a goblet. Similar figures are 
also found on the Arsacian coins as well as on some Sassanian 
monuments. Perhaps the idea was borrowed from the old 
manner of representing Ahura Mazda. On entering 
through the doorway, we observe the colossal figure of a 
rider carved between two columns of the Corinthian style. 
It is clad in mail, extending from the face to the knees, 
and beneath it are indications of a richly embroidered 
garment. In the right hand is a shield, a heavy lance rests 
on the shoulder. The horse also is partly covered with 

* This image is also supposed to represent the Iranian Prophet. 

• Ker Porter, vol. II. pp. 169 j<?^., and the illustrations, pis. 62-64. 


armour. Here still exist traces of an inscription in 
the Iranian and Greek languages, but too indistinct to 
be deciphered. In the panel above the rider there are 
three figures ; the middle one is richly clothed and appa- 
rently represents the king, wearing a crown with the ball 
or globe, and the rich plaited hair. Over his robe and 
trowsers, which seem to have been nicely embroidered, he 
wears a coat-of-mail, the left hand holding the hilt of his 
sword. On his left there is a female figure, likewise 
magnificently dressed, pouring water from a vessel in her 
hand. The figure on the right wears a diadem and a long 
beard, a mantle fastened over the breast hangs over its 
shoulders ; it offers to the king the coronal circlet so often 
referred to. I do not doubt but that the female figure on 
the left represents Anahita, and the figure on the right 
Mithra. The pictures on the side-walls of the grotto are 
easily explained. They are hunting scenes. On one of the 
reliefs the king is represented on horseback, armed with 
bow and arrows, while an umbrella is held over him. The 
king is pursuing a number of antelopes ; the horsemen 
overtake them ; and, a little farther on, the animals 
are seen slain. Behind the king is a company of 
musicians. In one of the lateral panels we behold a 
number of men riding on the backs of elephants, who 
drive the game towards the king ; in the opposite panel 
we see camels carrying the slaughtered animals. On 
the second wall a boar-hunt is represented. The scene 
is apparently a lake, the banks of which are covered over 
with dense bushes and forests. Here also we see 
elephants endeavouring to force the boars across the 
midst of the lake, where there is, in a boat, a man 
much taller than the rest, and richly dressed, in the act of 
shooting at the approaching animals. A little farther off, in 
another boat, there is a second man similar to the former, 
but not so tall, having round his head a circle, which is 
supposed to represent a nimbus. I believe this is a two- 


fold representation of the king* The second person is in 
the act of taking a bow from the hand of a servant ; on his 
side stands a female harper. Female musicians are also 
seen in other boats. On the edge of the relief we see 
persons engaged in piling the boars, which have been slain, 
on the backs of elephants. 

The second grotto is by far less spacious than the first.* 
It is only ig ft. broad and 12 ft. deep; its exterior is not 
decorated. Opposite the entrance we see a bas-relief 
exhibiting two figures, both dressed quite alike ; they wear 
crowns and the thick hair of the Sassanidae. Their 
costume is not particularly handsome ; but they wear 
necklaces, and the hilts of their swords are ornamented. 
Two inscriptions tell us who they are. One is Shapiir, 
* King of Kings, ^ son to Ormazd; the second Shapur, ' King of 
Kings,' son to Shapur and grandson to Ormazd; they are, 
therefore, Shapiir II. and Shapiir III. The workmanship 
is rather clumsy; the hunting-scenes and the ornaments at 
the entrance of the first grotto are of much higher artistic 
value. If we further mention the unfinished bas-relief found 
by Sir Robert Ker Porter in the ruins of Rai, we believe 
that we have completed the list of the most important 
Sassanian monuments. 

We have still to speak briefly of Iranian coins. The 
Dareiki have already been referred to (page 661).^ The 
Arsacian coins need not be discussed here on account 
of their Greek character, though the effigies and ornaments 

* I6id, pp. 187 seg, and pi. 65. 

■ [•* It was a pure gold coin struck by order of Darius I. It 
represented the king in a kneeling posture, habited in his Rowing 
garment with the royal tiara, holding in his right hand the royal 
staff, perhaps a lance or a sword, and in his left a bow. Accord- 
ing to Tabari the king was in olden time represented on both 
sides of the Dirhem ; on the one seated on the throne with the 
crown on his head, on the other on horseback with the lance in 
his hand."— TV. ».] 



of the Arsacian kings deserve also the attention of the 
Iranian archaeologist. 

As to the Sassanian kings, we find' the finest specimens 
of their coinage in the beginning of their dynasty under 
Ardashir I.* From the time of Shapur 11. they deteriorate 
perceptibly and degenerate under Peroses to the verge 
of barbarism, and continue so under the succeeding 
sovereigns. Under Khosrav II. there appears some 
improvement, but after that there is no real progress, and 
the same defects appear in the coins of the last Sassanidae. 

As for music, we can only remark that it was always 
popular in Iran ; but we do not know anything more 
definite about it. Vararan V. was very fond of music* 
He not only had female Greek lute-players in his suite, 
but he is even said to have introduced Indian music in 
Persia. At the court of Khosrav II. two singers, Barbad 
and Sargash (Sergius), are mentioned in the Book of 
Kings. We may suppose them to have been Greeks, and 
there can be no reason to doubt that Greek as well as Indian 
music was not un frequently heard at the court of the 
Iranian sovereigns. 

* Comp, Mordtmann, Zeitschrift ddmG, vol. VIII. 7. As for 
the other relics of the Sassanidae we refer to Mr. Ed. Thomas, 
"Early Sassanian Inscriptions, Seals, and Coins." London, 1873. 

• Cf, J. Darmesteter, " The Origin of Persian Poetry": — " One 
day king Behram Gor of historic and legendary memory was at 
the feet of his mistress, the beautiful Del Aram. He told her 
of his love, she spoke to him of her own. Their words were an 
echo of the harmony in which their hearts beat together. It is 
thus that poetry, rhyme, and rhythm took births in Persia. — The 
legend is beautiful but a little too late . . . Seven centuries before 
Behram Gor and Del Aram, the companions of Alexander the 
Great had heard the poets of Susa sing the loves of Zariares and 

Odatis But all this poetry is lost to us ; what is left is a 

remnant devoid of all charms, the famous Gathas of the Zend 
Avesta, rhythmical sermons which breath irreproachable morals, 
and which offer all the poetic interest of a catechism." Vide 
•Indian Spectator,' Aug. 15, i886.— TV. «.] 


III. The Iranian Alphabets. 

The ancient Persians made use of two distinct characters. 
So early as in the Inscriptions of Darius the term dipis 
denotes an inscription ; and this word may be derived from 
a verbal root dip^ which has been preserved also in other 
Iranian languages in different derivatives. To this root we 
might especially trace the Greek word di4>vtpa which was 
employed by Ktesias and other Greek writers as a name for 
the Persian Annals ; but which, as may be gathered from 
the testimony of Herodotus (V. 58), was used at an early 
period to denote a book or a manuscript. Herodotus seems 
to believe that the word was originally Greek, and perhaps 
derived from df(^a> ; but this opinion is distinctly erroneous, 
for the word is strictly Persian and comes from dtp ; even to 
the present day the Persian word defter means a book. 
From the same root we have the words dibistan, "a writing- 
room, a school'* ; devdn or dtvdn, which means "a writing 
book, or chamber" in the Armenian archives, and the Mod. 
Persian word diwer, Arm. dpir, "a writer." As regards 
the original meaning of the root dtp, I suppose it to be 
identical with the Skr. /ip, '* to besmear," and, therefore, also 
contained in the words /ipi{'' spreading over, writing") and 
lipikara ("white-washer, writer"). This supposition 
is not contradicted by the fact that the inscription, which 
Darius calls dipisf is cut on rocks, since we know that the 
engraved letters were also overlaid with gold or painted. 
On the contrary, this view is confirmed by the Mod. Persian 
words ^\ji^ dfwdr, "wall," and 5^0 dibajt ''brocade," 

VOL. !!• Z 10 



which must be traced to the same root. Another Old Persian 
expression for writing is ni-pish^ which is also used by Darius 
and contained in the Mod. Persian nivishtan. It seems 
to have migrated further westward and to have found a place 
in the Sclavonian dialect, wherein words like pismo^ 
** writing/' &c., point to the existence of a toot pish^ to which 
might also belong the Old Prussian words : — peisaton^ 
''written'' \peisalei^ " writing." Accordingly, we are able to 
point to the use of two distinct terms for the art of writing 
among the Southern Iranians. However, the case is 
different with respect to Northern Iran. Here we find a 
name for a written document only in the word naska^ which 
may be identified as a word borrowed from the Arm. pfD3' 
*'to transcribe.'' But this etymology is uncertain, and no 
other name for writing exists. Wherever books are referred 
to, allusion is frequently made to memory (darethra) and 
recitation (marethra). This circumstance shows beyond 
doubt that the sacred lore was originally impressed on the 
memory of scholars by tradition and oral instruction. It 
would be rash to infer from this circumstance that in olden 
times the use of writing was unknown to the Northern 
Iranians ; whereas Herodotus states that Deioces, after his 
accession to the throne, caused most of the events of his 
reign to be recorded in writing. The fact, however, is 
that even at the present day we can only put forth 
conjectures as to the character of the Northern Iranian 

On the other hand, our knowledge regarding the style 
of writing in Southern Iran reaches as far as the beginning 
of the Achaemenian monarchy, especially if we ascribe, as 
we probably may, the small inscription in Murghab to 
the founder of that dynasty. The earliest form of Southern 
writing known to us is found in the inscriptions of the 
Achaemenidae ; consequently we have the advantage of its 
having been transmitted to us in the very form in which it was 
originally inscribed. It is a variety of the so-called cunei* 



form writing, but one differing considerably from all 
others, which it surpasses in simplicity. This circumstance 
gives strength to the theory of the comparatively later 
origin of the Old Persian cuneiform writing, which is 
locally the most Eastern species of its kind. A more 
intricate system of cuneiform writing is found in translations 
standing side by side with the Old Persian texts. In North- 
ern Iran we meet with inscriptions following this intricate 
cuneiform system, engraved by kings still unknown to us 
in Media as well as in Armenia. Western Iran, the land of 
the Euphrates and the Tigris, however, is specially famous 
for such specimens of cuneiform writing. On the contrary, 
not a single line in cuneate letters has yet been discovered 
eastward of Persis. Although M. Ferrier thought he had 
met with such inscriptions in Balkh and Farah, his belief 
has not been confirmed by later research, and it must 
therefore, be regarded as erroneous. That the cuneate 
writing was confined to the western part of the Iranian 
kingdooi, is sufficient proof that it could not have been 
derived from the East. It would be more reasonable to give 
it a northern origin ; but the most probable view is that it 
came from the West. In dealing with this subject we need 
not be struck by the dependence of the Southern Iranian 
kingdom upon Northern and Western Iran, for we have 
lighted upon similar facts in other parts of our study 
of Iranian civilization. We repeat that the use of cuneiform 
writing throughout Persia proves that the latter country 
as well as the whole western frontier of Iran, was more or 
less familiar in ancient times with the civilization of 
Babylon and Niniveh. Yet the specific identification of 
the Old Persian cuneal system with the more ancient 
systems, presents no insignificant difficulties. The Old 
Persian cuneiform writing is the only system which really 
deserves to be called an alphabet ; all other varieties are 
mere syllabaries. Several peculiarities in the Old Persian 
writing make its identification with the Ana nan systems 



- impossible. There are signs which merely stand for the 
vowels i or «, but none for a. The letter, which must 
be followed by a in reading, denotes at the same time certain 
vowel-less consonants. These are some of the characteristics 
considerably differing from the earlier systems, which 
contain certain signs for syllables, e.g, ru, rt\ &c. The 
letters m and v are distinguished in the Old Persian 
alphabet, but not in the earlier cuneiform systems. 
Assyrian writing has no signs for aspirates, while the Old 
Persian carefully distinguishes the hard aspirates at least. 
These peculiarities do not allow us to connect the Old 
Persian alphabet either with the Anarian or the Assyrian 
syllabary: on the contrary, they exhibit some points of 
contact with the Babylonian. The ideographic sign for 
king (which would formerly have been read naqa) is taken 
from the Babylonian, and lately M. Oppert has found 
altogether nine such signs corresponding to the Babylonian 
ones.* This circumstance supports the theory which 
ascribes a Babylonian origin to the Old Persian afphabet ; 
and M. Oppert (p. 244) supposed that it was for the first 
time systematized by Cyrus or at his command, after the 
occupation of Babylon, by the Persians. For this purpose 
the Old Persians seem to have fixed on 36 words which were 
represented in Babylonian by ideograms, to each of 
which they attached the value of a single character. 
The alphabet was rendered still simpler by bringing into 
the new system only angular and single cuneal signs — the 
latter being horizontal as well as vertical — from three to 
five of which fundamental elements the different letters 
were formed.^ In this way we may account for the change 
from the syllabic systems to the method of writing in letters ; 

* Cf. Oppert, " Sur la formation de V alphabet perse" Journal 
Asiatiquey 1874, pp. 238 seq, 

■ In Oppert (Jbidy pp. 242 seq) we find a table of Babylonian 
characters from which the Old Persian alphabet is supposed to 
have been develc^d. 


however, we are at a loss for any explanation of the high 
proficiency attained by the Persians, which led to their 
invention of an alphabet to replace the cumbrous mode of 
writing in syllables. Besides, it is scarcely possible to 
assume that the cuneiform writing was the only method 
which people could make use of during the rule of the 
Achaemenidae. It is true that it has many advantages for 
monumental inscriptions; nevertheless, its incongruities 
must have been felt in the ordinary intercourse of life. It 
is impossible to suppose that letters, edicts,* or literary 
works, for instance the royal annals mentioned by 
Ktesias, were written in cuneal letters. It is more 
probable that, along with the cuneiform alphabet, another 
system of writing was in use for epistolary or literary 
purposes. What this system was and whether it sufficiently 
corresponded in principle to the former, we cannot of 
course state, for we know nothing about it. But since a 
regular alphabet was known in the countries west of their 
own, besides the cuneiform system,^ it is likely that the 
Old Persians may have borrowed a similar mode of writing 
from Babylon or Assyria and adapted it to their own 
language. In any case, however, it could not have been 
perfectly suitable for employment in the Old Persian dialect, 
owing to the natural want of harmony between an Indo- 
Germanic language and a Semitic alphabet. But such 
inconsistencies have lasted to the present day through the 
whole of Iranian history; while the inconvenience arising 
from the use of a Semitic alphabet need not have been 
insuperable, since it was used only by natives, whose 
knowledge of the spoken language must have made up for 
the deficiencies of the written alphabet. 

The period of the Achaemenidae was followed by the 
empire of the Parthians ; and we have already stated that 

^ Herodotus I. pp. 124, 125. 

" Comp. Schradcr, Die Assyrisch-Babylon. Keilifischrifhn;p. 167. 


the Arsacidae stamped their coins with Greek legends in 
Greek characters. But, on the other hand, a number of 
coins are still prese'rved, which owe their origin to the age 
of the Arsacidae, probably to the satraps (viceroys), and 
which are inscribed in the native language and character. 
Upon these coins M. Levy has based an elaborate and 
admirable treatise — his" History of Iranian Writing in the 
Parthian Period."^ Most of the coins alluded to in this 
work belong to Hamadan, Sheraz, and Kerman,^ /*. e, to the 
South and West of the kingdom. That they owe their 
origin to the Iranians can be clearly demonstrated, since 
thev exhibit the device of a fire-altar and a man standins: 
before it in prayer. On several of them we observe also 
the image of Ahura Mazda himself, similar to the symbol 
of Him found on earlier monuments. The effigy of the 
king also supports this view. Indeed, he does not wear the 
high tiara of the Great King, but he has an Iranian 
head-dress, which on the later coins is evidently the 
Patidana, On one of these coins, however, the king is 
shown holding a sceptre, a flower, and a goblet, as on the 
monuments of Persepolis. All these circumstances evince 
the correctness of M. Levy's theory that these coins must 
be ascribed to the Iranian satraps. This seems to have 
been indicated also by the position of the king's face, looking 
towards the right, whereas the image of the Great King 
always looks towards the left. The coins bear legends in 
indigenous characters ; the letters belong to the Aramaic 
alphabet of the fourth and third century B. C, as it was 
used on monuments in Asia Minor, as well as on the coins, 
seals, monumental columns, and papyrus fragments 
discovered in Egypt. ^ Hence it might be inferred that 

* Cf, Levy, Beilrdge zur aramdischen Munzkunde Erans und 
zur kunde der alter en Pehlevischrifty ZddmG. vo\, XXI. pp. 421 
seq. Cf. also Franc. Lenorraant, Etudes sur V alphabet Pehlvi\ 
yournal Asiatique, 1865, vol, IL pp. 180 seq, 

' Levy, ibid, p. 438. ' Ibid^ p. 428. 



the Persian satraps, to whom the coins belonged, caused 

them to be struck, if not under the sovereignty of 

Alexander, then under the Seleucidae and throughout the 

whole period of the Arsacidae ; and during this epoch a 

species of Aramaic writing may have been naturalized in 

Iran. Inscriptions with traces of a similar character have 

been found also in Hglvan and Khuzistan.^ They seem to 

have been akin to the Nabataean and Palmy rene alphabets, 

but the samples of them now existing are not quite 

sufficient to allow of any definite opinion being formed 

regarding them. The question as to the origin of those 

inscriptions will, therefore, remain undetermined until 

solved by further research. Another group of coins has a 

bearing on the history of Iranian writing. The more 

modern ones are like those described above ; yet they must 

be placed before the beginning of the Sassanian dynasty. 

These coins are divided into two classes. The greater 

number of those included in the first class must be assigned 

on numismatic principles to the time of Phraates I. and 

Mithridates I., while some of the remaining ones may 

perhaps belong to the reign of Phraates IV.* To these 

coins M. Levy traces the so-called Parthian writing, which 

he is inclined to call Western Pahlavi. It is found on the 

monuments ascribed to the first Sassanidae, but not on their 

coins; and after their time it becomes quite extinct. The 

coins comprised in the other class must, according to M. 

Levy,' be ascribed to the time of Vologeses II. (130-149 

A.D.) . The alphabets on the coins of both these classes are 

now regarded as the forerunner of the species of writing 

current under the first of the Sassanidae. It follows, then, 

that the latter cannot have been developed from the former, 

* Levy, ibid^ p. 44S. 

■ Vide tablet II. Nos. x — ID in Levy who places the coins 
numbered 8 and 9_in the time of Phraates IV, 

• Ibid, p. 455. 


but that both must have sprung at the same time from the 
Aramaic alphabet, which ought to be considered as their 
common parent, and which is found on weights, seals, 
and gems belonging to the Babylonian, Assyrian, and 
Achaemenian nfonarchies. From the same alphabet first 
arose what has been styled the Southern Pahlavi writing, 
which M. Levy would call Eastern Pahlavi;^ while the 
alphabet, which is known as the Parthian or Persian Pahlavi, 
must be distinguished as Western Pahlavi, which dies out 
after the inscriptions of the first two Sassanidae. Eastern 
Pahlavi, on the contrary, remained in use and developed 
gradually into the form in which we find it on the later 
Sassanian coins and in the Parsi manuscripts. We quite 
agree with this view of the development of the history of 
Iranian writing; only we admit that we cannot exactly 
account for the names Eastern and Western Pahlavi. 
Although I concede that this species of writing may have 
been current already at a very remote period in Eastern 
Iran, where the oldest Indian character (the so-called Arian, 
the use of which for an Iranian language cannot be proved), 
may have existed with it, and that the Eastern Iranians may 
have possibly employed it whenever they wrote anything, 
still we must hold to our supposition that there are no 
facts before us to show that this alphabet was first intro- 
duced precisely into Eastern Iran, and thence gradually 
extended to the West. According to our opinion, we can 
here, again, distinguish between North and South. The 
so-called Western Pahlavi was chiefly current in the North, 
in the territory belonging to the Parthians. It died out 
after the fall of the Arsacidae, since, as the power of the 
Sassanidae grew in the South, the style of writing there 
current prevailed. The most important point here is 
that no essential difference ever existed between these two 
alphabets, and that both of them owed their origin unques- 

* Levy, p. 4S6. 


tionably to Western Semitic, Hence it is that vowels are 
imperfectly distinguished in all such alphabets, since they 
contain only three vowel-signs, via. those for a, 1, and u^ 
Such a deficiency must have been very inconvenient in an 
Indo-Germanic language, as all the vowels could not have 
been accurately indicated by those three signs as in the 
Semitic languages. So the alphabet became in course of 
time more and more developed, as, from the time of Kobad 
I., writers began to employ an increasing number of new 
combinations consisting of two or more consonants linked 
together. I do not entirely dissent from the opinion 
expressed by Prof. Westergaard*, that among these com- 
pound consonants are also found some arbitrary characters ; 
but I believe that their origin may be regarded as on the 
whole regular and natural. It was a current style, which, 
though hastily written, was not disagreeable to the eye ; 
and to the natives, who understood the language^ its 
difficulties may not have been so hard to surmount as they 
appear to us.* 

According to our view, M. Levy is on the right path 
when he traces the so-called Zend alphabet, that in which 
the Avesta is written in our oldest MSS., to the Southern 
Iranian writing (Eastern Pahlavi).' Several of the charac- 
ters of both these alphabets are quite similar; but there 
is a number of signs peculiar to the Avesta alphabet, viz^ 

• Zendaves/a, vol. I. p. 20. 

• The variety of writing which we have here designated as 
Southern Iranian, is also called Uzvarsh or Hunvaresh, A much 
quoted passage of a Pars! book {Cf, my Huzv. gramm, page 22) 
expressly names Uzvarsh as an alphabet, and, indeed, as the 
writing of Sevad, This statement can ea^ly be reconciled with the 
arguments adduced above. 

• Cf, his BeUrdge, p. 460. A different view, however, is 
held by Lepsius, who, in the second edition of his Standard- 
alphabets^ p. 120, is inclined to regard the Avesta alphabet as 
older, from which, he supposes, the ordinary Pahlavi alphabet was 
first reduced in the time of the Sassanidae* 



those of the aspirates, which cannot easily be proved 
to have been developed from the Southern Iranian writing. 
The distinctive feature of the Avesta alphabet is in the 
vowel-signs. It not only comprises the matres lectionis^ 
{t\e., the vowel-signs for a, t\ u); but all the vowels, even 
the shortest ones, are represented in it and set down in the 
same line with the consonants, just as is the case in our 
European alphabets. This peculiarity distinguishes the 
Avesta alphabet from all the other alphabets of Iran and 
of Asia in general. For, not only is this characteristic 
absent in the Old Parthian and Sassanian systems, but, 
likewise, in the cuneiform as well as Arian characters, 
since the former only represents the matres lectionis^ 
whilst the latter does not place the vowels on the same 
footing with the consonants, but merges them in the 
consonants themselves. A single Asiatic alphabet, the 
Armenian alone, possesses such characteristics. According 
to our conviction the Avesta alphabet does not seem to be 
older than the Armenian ; perhaps, to a certain extent, it 
may be contemporaneous with it. . . . 

In systematizing the Avesta alphabet the object which 
the people endeavoured to obtain could only have been 
to enable the reader to peruse the Sacred Texts as 
accurately as was necessary. It is probable that it was 
specially intended for particular individuals who had to 
read the Sacred Books to the people and who might be 
liable to commit slight errors in haste owing to the 
defects of the writing in use; but it is less probable that 
the object in view was to help the general reader by 
means of a clear or lucid alphabet. I believe, therefore, 
that the inventor of the Avesta characters chiefly studied 
the requirements of the public readers of the Iranian 
Scriptures, for much, in fact, depended on accuracy in 
reading them aloud (Comp. Yasna^ XIX. 6). We should, 
however, err, if we assumed that such was the exclusive 
object of the Avesta alphabet; nothing indicates that it 


was ever regarded as sacred. Firstly, we find that 
the majority of the Parsis do not strictly believe that the 
Avesta was originally written in the Avesta characters 
that we now possess ; in fact, they have sometimes 
employed the modern Persian alphabet, and in modern 
times all the fragments of the Avesta, but most fre- 
quently the Khorda-Avesta, have been printed in Gujerati. 
Secondly, the Avesta-writing has not seldom been found 
also in Pahlavi works in the rendering of certain isolated 
words, mostly such as could not be made out by any 
other means. Just in the same manner do we find the 
Avesta characters frequently used in Pahlavi glossaries 
to show the pronunciation of certain Pahlavi expressions. 
Thirdly and finally, we may add that the Avesta alphabet 
probably contains more signs than are required to exhibit 
the Avesta Text. The writing in the oldest MSS. of the 
Avesta, as well as in the later Indian MSS. copied from 
them, differs somewhat from the characters used in the 
MSS. that were transcribed in Yezd and Kerman.^ This 
difference is, however, unimportant, and, except in minor 
points, is perhaps due to a taste for elegant penmanship. 

So far we have traced the history of Iranian writing from 
the earliest times to the more recent period, by the help of 
coins, inscriptions, and written works that are still in 
existence. Moreover, there are some notices upon Old 
Iranian alphabets by some Mohammedan scholars, who have 
written on the antiquities of Iran. Amongst these writers 
the learned author of the Fihrist occupies a pre-eminent 
position. The majority of these notices refer evidently to the 
modern Sassanian period and furnish no incomplete survey 
of the alphabets then current. It must not be supposed 
that the various specimens of writing, which they describe, 

* These will be found in my AUbaktrischen Gramma/ik, 
pp. 7-8. The slight difference in them seems also to contravene 
the theory that our oldest MSS. came from Yezd. 


represent quite as many systems ; several of them may be 
supposed to be distinct merely in the apparent shape of 
the characters^ }ust in the same manner as in the later 
styles Taaliq and Shikest may be distinguished. Never- 
theless, we ought to assume a variety of systems in a few 
cases^ where a great difference exists in the number of 
letters. It is certainly not accidental that the author of the 
Pihrist fixes upon seven as the number of alphabets ; the 
Parsis also believe that Tahmurath was gifted with the 
knowledge of seven descriptions of writing/ which was after 
him transferred to Yima. Elsewhere, too, the number 
seven is regarded as the most sacred amongst the 
Iranians. — First of all is to be mentioned the alphabet of 
Mani, which is probably one of the oldest in the series of 
alphabets named in Fihrist. Since there are several 
evidences to prove that Mani systematized a particular 
alphabet, this fact must be considered as beyond all doubt. 
It is probable that Mani did not wish that his books should 
be accessible to unqualified readers, and consequently 
wrote them in an alphabet which was only known to his 
disciples. This alphabet must have been distinguished 
from other Iranian alphabets more by the shape of the 
characters than by its intrinsic nature. As to the number 
of letters, our authorities are, however, disagreed. While 
Epiphanes affirms that the alphabet of Mani contained 22 
symbols,* after the manner of the Syriac alphabet, the 
author of the Fihrist asserts that it was made up of a larger 
number of characters than the Arabic alphabet, i>., of 
more than 28 signs. One single specimen of that writing 
would be sufficient to remove all doubts. — A second 
important alphabet is that which is called by the author of 
the Fihrist y the Din-defterih {^i^^ izH^), which, as 
i s name also denotes, served for writing the Avesta. 

<^ ... . . ■ ■ ,m 

* Cf. my Parsi'grammatik^ p. 139. 

• Epiphanes, Adv. Haeres. II. p. 629, cd. Patav* 


Masudi^ who tells us somewhat more on the subject, 
mentions that this alphabet had 60 letters and was not 
employed exclusively for the Avesta.* It might be regarded 
to a certain extent as identical with our Avesta alphabet, 
which exhibits only 48 different signs^ granting the 
assumption that several characters^ which were originally 
in existence, are now no longer distinguished in our 
Texts.^ Or we may attach some credit to Masudi's opinion 
that this alphabet not only served for transcribing the 
Avesta; but that the remaining 12 letters were employed in 
writing other works, which were beyond the pale of the 
Avesta literature. — A third species of writing, which the 
author of the Fihrist names Kashtaj ( ^^ ), is believed 
to have been composed of 28 signs and adapted to seals 
and coins. It was, perhaps^ almost identical with the 
earlier writing of the Sassanidae^ which contains 
only 24 signs including the ordinary compounds,' 
and of which it is quite possible that some of the 
characters may still be unknown to us. — The fourth species 
is styled Half -Kashtaj { J^ ^> ) in the Fihrist^ and was 
employed in works on medicine and philosophy. This 
alphabet differs but slightly from the third. Here the 
number of signs is the same ; probably the difference 
was due only to the materials used in writing books. 
—Much more unlike the third is the fifth kind of writing, 
which the Fihrist designates Vesh^debirlh ( yJ^o i^j ), 
1.^., " much-writing," since it contained no less than 365 
signs, in which, the author says, the mysteries of physiog- 
nomy were written. As it was a cryptography we must 
of course believe in the existence of a great multitude of 

* Cf. Lepsius, Das urspnlngliche Zendalphahet (Berlin, 1863), 
p. 338. Masudi, II. p. 124. The Fihrist^ I. 13th ed. Flugel. 

* This view of Lepsius is, no doubtt tupported by the Parsi 
traditional writings. 

* Cf. Mordtmann, ZddmG. vol, VIII. Ublet 5. 


characters, even if we do not regard the number 365 
as authentic. What the shape of these letters was we 
should like to know; however, the brevity of the author's 
statement does not admit of any conclusion. It is possible 
that the author of the Fihrist meant such contractions as 
are to be found in the Huzvaresh writing described above ; 
but it is also possible that the style of writing in syllables^ 
akin to the more complicated species of cuneal letters, 
survived from the earliest times to the period of the 
Sassanidae. — A far simpler alphabet is the sixth Raz-sahrih 
( ? ) (^-^t**0 )> ^'^'j cryptography. It was a twofold species 
comprising 25 as well as 40 signs, about which we can say 
very little in particular, because in all probability Ibn 
Muqaffa himself never saw it. The same may be said 
regarding the style of writing which he calls Shah-debirxk 
( ^d^»> *^ ), or "royal writing/' and which must have been 
very much like the foregoing. — Finally, the seventh and last 
species bears the appellation of Nameh-dehirxh {fij^,^ ^^)% 
ue.f the *' writting of letters or books.'' Besides, it is also 
stated that some books were written in the old Syriac 
language and read in Persian. This is somewhat analogous 
to what the same author says regarding Zevdreshn^ 
Nevertheless, this alphabet is said to have been formed 
of only 33 simple characters without any contractions 






























•AJ. »* 





129 9 



nut -tf ^^ 





an -flkaii^ 

ttattind Uttert 



UgibU in some 


-JIV ' 

of the ,Unes 








XU1& CtAllt 


»c» A |9«A 


























Of all the Sasanian rock-inscriptions known to exist in Persia the 
longest are those attached, respectively, to the two groups of 
sculpture which are now called Naqsh-i Rajab and N a q s h-i 
Rust am. The former inscription consists of thirty one lines 
containing originally about 1,400 letters, and the latter appears to 
have formerly comprised about seventy-seven lines and nearly 
7,000 letters. 

The late Professor Westergaard, when sending me a tracing of ^ 

his copy of the remains of the N a q s h-i R u s t a m inscription, in ; 

March 1878, remarked that he had ** unfortunately missed the ^ 

Naqsh-i Rajab inscription when visiting Presepolis" in 1843, ' 

but had *' tried to make copy of the large Naqsh-iRustam '• 

inscription, as exact as its mutilated state would allow.'' That 
Westergaard did not see the Naqsh-i Rajab inscription must \ 

still remain a source of regret to Pahlavi scholars, as there can be 
no doubt that the whole of that inscription would have been 
deciphered long ago if a copy of it had been taken and published 
by Westergaard with his usual care and accuracy. As it is, we 
have to depend upon the copy taken by the French expedition 
under M. Flandin,* which is more of an artist's sketch than a 
rigorously accurate transcript, and, therefore, makes the greater 
part of the inscription unintelligible, although it is evident that not 
more than one in forty of its letters is really illegible. 

The state of the Naqsh-i Rustam inscription is very 
different ; for, although some of the latter words in each of its first 
thirty-six lines are so distinctly legible as to be accurately given in 
the copy taken by the French expedition,* yet only scattered words 
and letters can be read over the remaining surface. The mutilated 
condition of this inscription can be readily seen from the reduced 

• By Dr. E. W. West. Vide " Indian Antiquary." 
1 See Flandin's Voyage en Perse ^ vol. IV., pi. 190. 

• Ibid.^ vol. IV., pi. 181. 


facsimile* of Westergaard's copy, which accompanies this paper > 
and at first sight there seems little chance of obtaining any con- 
nected meaning from these scattered fragments. Further investi- 
gation, however, shows that the names and titles of the kings, 
when restored, fill up several of the blank spaces ; also, that two or 
three phrases, which frequently occur and can be readily recovered, 
fill up several more ; while some missing words can be supplied 
by guesses, more or less hazardous, so as to obtain a connected 
meaning for more than one-third of the inscription. Such 
guesses are, however, only justifiable when there is little hope 
of obtaining a better copy, and when they are so carefully indicated 
as not to mislead the reader by assuming any greater certainty 
than really exists. 

The following transliteration of as much of the first thirty-four 
lines as seems recoverable has been prepared by these means; 
and it may be noted, as a proof of Westergaard's accuracy, that 
hardly one in a hundred of his letters seems to require emendation, 
although some of the Sasanian characters can be easily mistaken 
for others. In this transliteration all the words and letters supplied 
by guess are printed in italics, and all vowels expressed by 
Sasanian characters (except initial a) are circumfiexed ; the rest 
of the vowels being merely understood in the original. Where the 
number of letters apparently missing (including spaces between 
words) is not expressly mentioned, it is indicated by a hyphen for 
one letter, a dot for two, or a dash for five letters and spaces 
omitted, or by any combination of such dashes, dots, and hyphens 
as may be necessary for indicating the probable number of missing 
letters and spaces. The beginning of each line of the inscription 
is indicated by its number in parentheses ; the letters h and k^, or 
p and /, represent the same Sasanian character ; the letter r is 
often written like / in Sasanian, and the syllable -man represents 
a single letter which appears to be usually equivalent to a Semitic 
final H} but is written -man in Pahlavi MSS. 

* Photographed from the original copy made by Westergaard on 24th 
and 25th April 1843, for the use of which I am indebted to the kindness of 
Professor Fausboll and the courtesy of the chief librarian of the University 
Library at Copenhagen, to which the literary papers of the late Professor 
Westergaard have been presented. 


Trantliteralion of the first pari of the Naqsh^i Rustam 


(1) kmalam kar/»r* z\ raago^ot va aiharpat vol Artakh^^X^x 
ma/i^An malkd Airdn va Shahp&hari malkan malkk z! ^urastai* va 
hukamaki havitun 

(2) afam dfrtiiikdn va j/p4si dim — . — va Artakhshatar 
Airdn malkkn ma/kA va Sha^pdhart malkAn malka karti havitun 
zakam vabidiin 

(3) zi Shah^\hzx\ malkkn malka pavan Air^n va Anirdn 
karii pavaa* babd val daid shatari val shatari zivdk val £;ivak 
himshatan pavan Mag6stan kamkari 

(4) y^ p^van dushir/naki farmiin zi Artakhshatar malkdn 
malkn pavan shatart si Axrkxi malkdn ma/^& . shatari val shatari 
ztvAk val zivak kabir kartakiln z! 

(5) yazd&n* afzkdihi va kablr diuri va Aixkn yetibAnd . — baxd^ 
avlayd aSharpat va mzgopat va kabir dturdn dtuA . — . ^atakh- 
shatari hatimi^n va Adharmazdi va yazdan 

(6) bab& sfltt yehez;u« v-a-rabft-v-v — iint va zenman — . — 

nft • m — . — pavan sha/ari «S!^ah/uhar] mzXkdn malkA pavan 
vAspdhara kan pakdi^n vabidikn 

(7) va yetibAni a t — - chtgAn . — ai Mharmazdi va 

yazd4n val ^amakl . — vazir va — va zail peitakhshatar va matza- 
d&n maman valman 

(8) vidai^ madajH Shah/ahaH malk&n malka pava^t bab4 val 
habd shatari val shai2iri zivkk val zivafc karit . valman pavan hank 
zvsLgun* madam nipish/i yekavimiint aik varlir zi aSharpat 

(9) va magdpat Shah/uhart malkdn ma/k& val bagdd/ ^dsi. 
vazlHtit va A(Jiarmazd% malkAn malki atti barman pava;i shaX2.x\ . 
yekavimdni^ afam Aiiharmazdi malkin maM kiirapi 

(10) madam ye/tbiini afam gadman va p(£ta<(Ashatari vabtd^ni 
afavof babd val babd shatart val shatari zivik val ziz^ak \idm' 
shatari}^ pavan malkkn z! yazdan ha/ng^nakl kamkaritart. 

^ Compare the Naqsh-i Rajab inscription. The word is vartir in line 8. 

• For kHrastaki apparently. * See line 8. 

• See lines 17 and 31. • See line 32. 

• See line 13. ' See lines 14 and 2a > See line 15. 

• See line 16. »© See lines 3 and 23. 
VOL. II. Z 12 



(11) afarrC' ShahpvJiari ^^harpat shem va maghpaX shem karti 
Auharvd'AZ^X inag6pa/ shem va a^arpat karA d-d . . p . k — . 
sha/ari val sha\zx\ ziv4k val zivak kabtr 

(12) kartakkn zi yazdi&n a/zddiht va kablr kitA va gehdn* 

yetlbAnd . bard avlayd aehsirpat va magtpat va kabir 

itiiran dtdri patakhshatari. 

(13) ha>XvcAind va gati* pdtakhshaiari va matzadan xnTiman 
valman z;/'dan& madam h^harmazdi malkan vadXkd pavan babd val 
hnbd shatari val shatarx zvD9k val zivak karti . valman pavan hanik 
a 'agiin 

(14) madam nipiskli jfekaznmun/ aik varAx . — zi magdpat va 
2LSharpat Adharmazdt malkin malkd val bagddi gisi vazlAnt va 
Vara^ran malkSn 

(15) malkkh^nd ShahpHhsj^t Adharmsadi malkan 

mal^^ pavan haaashatardzxX yekavimi£;zt . a/am Varahr^n malkAn 
malkft zak hamgfinakt* pat^a^ 

(16) gadman yelibdni va pdlakhshalari vabUttni of am babd val 
bab& va shatan val shatari ztvak val zivik ha^Tikartak&r^n zi yazdan 
Aamgdnaki )(&mk&ri 

(17) a/am Adharmazdi magopai shem Varahrdn shem karli*^ 
hamkkt shatarT val shatari zivdk val 2tz;ak hahtr kartakan zi 
y^zddn afzadiht va kablr at&rl 

(18) va gehdn yelibdud — , — • bard avlayd aSharp^i va ma- 
gdpat — va habir k\Xirdn dldri p^/akhshatart hatimiind . va zaTi 

(19) pdlakhshalari va md/zaddn maman valman vi'dand madam 
Varahra» malkkn malkft karli va valman pavan hand madam 

(20) yekavimdnl aik varlir zi aSh2LTpal va magSpal Varahrdn 
malkdn malkd val bagd^ft gdsi 

(21) vazldnl [60 letters] harlahV pavan . . 

(22) [60 letters] i ga — tSLh-yelibxin^ 

(23) q/am gadman va pdtakhshaiari vabtduni afam babd val 
babd shatari val shatari eivdh val ziv&^ ^^m^^atarl pavan 

* This sentence is very doubtful. ■ See line 32. 

* See lines 7, 18, and 32. * So in Flandin's copy. 

* A very doubtful sentence; compare lines ii and 34. 

* See lines 11-14. 

1 In Flandin's copy it is kar - - f . * See lines 10 and ii* 


(24) malkdn z% yazddn hamgHnaki kdmkdri/ari va Mkhi rUbdn 
Varahrdn^ aeharpat shem va ma^d/atam Varahrdn shem magd^zt 

(25) va aeharpat hard [48 letters] t v . • ha«& t^abidAnt 

(26) [53 letters] shataxx val shatarl zfvik val 

(27) zwdk [5 1 letters] An 3?fl magtf$ gabra b6« shatar! 

(28) [27 letters] maya va kxjdri [24 letters] Jh! madam 

(29) [28 letters] baba [29 letters] shMn min — sheditun 

(30) [32 letters] asl [27 letters] t - i — yehevi<«d va afizd^si 

(3O • vpfthi* — . ^ va nished . shatarl val 

shatart zxvdk val zivek kabir kartak4n zi yazdan a/zadihi 

(32) va kabxr dtdr% va gtYiknyetibUnd barft avlavA aeharpat 

va magSpat — va kabir dturdn dturi /atakhshatari hatimAnt . va 
zati /<^takhshatari 

(33) maman valman vidand madam Varahrkn malkdn malkd 
va Varahr^/i [30 letters] kar — biikht rubSn Varahrdn duehzrpat va 

(34) [20 letters] (inl p Ah [28 letters] m — . 1 kabir 

Aturan vamdiini b6n shatari. 

Translation of the above^. 

(i) V^hen my crown of mobad. and herbad^ existed /or Artahh' 
shatar, king of the ki;i^s 0/ Irdn, and ShahpAhari, king of kings 
who was 2«;<f //-principled and well- inclined 

(2) and . . • my 3if«^dictions and praise which . , ' me), and 
had made Artakhshatar a king of the kings of Irdn, and Sha^pii- 
harl a king of the kings, that was done by me 

^ See line 33, but the sentence is very doubtful ; compare lines 1 1 and 17 

* VossxhXy Shap^hari* * See lines 11-13. 

* Italics indicate words and portions of words which are either supplied 
by guess where the inscription is illegible, or are added to complete 
the sense. The commencement of each line in the original inscription 
is approximately indicated by its number in parentheses, and the extent of 
the missing text is only approximately shown by the number of dots. 

* A Mobad is a Parsi priest whose special duty is to conduct religious 
ceremonies, and herbad is a general term applied to all ranks of the 

* Perhaps "celebrated." ' Perhaps " propitiated or pleased." 


(3) which ShahpdhATi, king of kings, did in Iran and non-Irdn 
through capital to capital, town to iown, and place to /lace of the 
united country, spontaneously in Mag6stan 

(4) and by the loving command 0/ Avtakhshatar^ king of 
kings, in the country 0/ the k/«g of kings of /ran. From town to 
town and place to place the great deeds which 

(5) are the bounty of the angels and settle in the great Jirt 
and Itkn • . * bwt the . ^ of the first herbad and laobad, and of the 
great fire of fire% ended the jovereign ; and A^iharmazdi and 
the angels 

(6) became the benefit of the capital ... great .... and 

this in the country 5!^ah/uharJ, king of kings, inflicted 

chastisement on the nobles 

(7) and sat ... as . . huharmazdi and the angels, at will . . . 
And smitten was the s^z'ereign and the slain, for that 

(8) time it was done unto Shshpuhzn, king of kings, throu^4 
capital to capital, town to town, and //ace to plac^. In this 

fashion it is written about, that the crown of the herbad 

(9) and mobad Shah/j/hari, king of kings, goes to the divinely- 
Tippoinied place, and Adharmazdi, king of kings» who is the son, 
remains in the country. And Auharmazdi, king of kings, sat on 
my kdr&pi (or kulapi) 

(10) and was made my glory and se?vereign ; and /ram capital 
to capital, town to t^wn, and place to place, of my united country, 
he was more absolute among the king^ who were similar to 

(11) And Shahp^ans title of herbad and title of mabod 
appointed by me, was made AuharmdizdVs title of moba</ and 
herbad*. . . From town to /own, and place to place, the great 

(12) deeds which are the bounty af the angels and settle in the 
great fire and the world, . . but the . . of the first herbad 
and mobad, and the great fire of fires, end the sovereign. 

(13) And smitten was the sovereign and the shin, for that 

* Perhaps *' he performed" both here and in the similar phases in lines 
12, 18, and 32. 

■ That is, beings inferior to him who was their supreme lord. 

■ This sentence and the corresponding passages in lines 17 and 24 are 
the most doubtful parts of this decipherment. 


/ime /*/ was done unto K^harmazdt, \i\ng of kings, through capital 
to capital, town to town, and p/zce to place. In this fashion it is 

(14) written about, that the crown . . of the mobad and 
her bad Auharmazd:, king of kings, goes to the divinely -appointed 
place, and VaraAran, 

(15) >t/«g of kings, th/j " ... of .Wfl^pAhart, remai/rs as 
coadjutor of -^tt^arma^di, ki«^ of kings. And Varahrtfn, king of 
kings, in like manner, 

(16) sat in glory and was made ^vereign by me ; and from 
capital to capital, and town to town^ and place to pl^ce he was 
absolute, through me, over i€^ow-^t,\iormers of exploits who were 
j/milar to angels ; 

(17) and Auharmazdfs title of mobad was made the title of 
Varahrdn by me. From es^ry town to town, and place to place, 
the great deeds which are the bounty of the zngeU and settle in 
the great fire 

(18) and the world . . , but the . , of the first ^<rrbad and mobad 
and the great fire of fir« end the soi'ereig«. And smitten. 

(19) was the sovereign and the slain, for that time it was done 
unto Varahrtf«, king of kings ; and in this way ti is written about, 

(20) that the crown of the hexbad and mobad Varahrdn, king 
of kings, goes to the divinely-ap/^/Vited pl^jc^, 

(21) .... a deed in • • 

(22) szX, 

(23) and was made my glory and sovereign ; and from capital 
to capital, town to town, and place to place of my waited country^ 

(24) the kings who were similar to angels, he was more absolute ; 
and the title of herbad and mobad of Varahrdn with the taved 
souV' was made by me Varahrdn* s title of moh^d 

(25) and herbad this he does 

(26) from town to town and place to 

(27) place and the M^gian men in the country 

(28) . . . water and fire . . . came on 

(29) ... capital . • . cast the . . from . . 

^ Equivalent to "the deceased Varahriln." 



(30) become, and the habitude* of the idol-temple 

(31) ... and sits (?) . . From town to town, and pl2jc^ ioplac^, 
tlie great deeds which are the bounty of the angels 

(32) and settle in the great fire and the world . . , but the . . 
of the first herbadand mobad and 0/ the great fire 0/ fires, ends the 
jovereign. A.nd smiiitn was the sovereign, 

(33^ /or that is the time unto Varahrm, king of kings, and 
Varahr^/f . . . . , Varahran with the saved soul, the herbad and 

(34) the great fires arose* in the country. 

In the subsequent lines of the inscription, owing to its mutilated 
condition, only a few words and phrases are intelligible 

(35) Va zatakan * and the smitten' ; 

(36) ShahpHhsLTi m^Akdn malkd, ' Shahpuh2xi, king of kin^j ' ; 
shatart aitLvi, ' the fire of the country 5 

(37) malkan maZ^*!, • king of kings' ; 

(38) shatari maman, * the country, for ' ; 

(39) vabi/i/n vad, * dtd, until'; val, * to ' ; babA Shahpt2^ari 

(40) malkdf 'the capital of ShahpiiAar!, king of kings'; 
mekhitun afam, ' struck, and by m^ ' ; A^hsirmazdi malkAn malkd 
min6', * i^Aharwaadi, king of kings, the spirit ' ; 

(41) kartt yehev&n, zak ham bara yansebdn, *was done, that 
same took away ' ; 

(42) r&dt* liberal' ; 

(43) mekhi/wn, afam, * struck, and by me ' ; 

(44) kabir, ' great ' ; 

(45) afash, * and by him ' ; 

(46) vakhdun, va kabtr, ' took, and great' ; yazda» va kahxv kturi 
kd^kdrim yehevdn, * he war more absolute than the angeU and the 
^reat U're ' . . . , 

If the first portion of this inscription has been correctly restored 
it would appear to contain merely an account of the succession of 
the first six Sasanian monarchs (a.d. 226 — 283), from 

* Compare Pers. gUnSih. It cannot be '* sinfulness," because that is 
vinAsth in Pahlavi ; the change to gundhi being modern. 

• The verb vamdHni is unknown in the MSS., but is a regular forma- 
tion from the Semitic root it3V' 


Artakhshatar I. to Varahr&n III., with some general 
allusion to their chief actions. Whether this succession is con- 
tinued beyond V a r a h r4n III. is very doubtful, for though some 
kings are afterwards mentioned, such asShahp^hariin lines 
36 and 39,Aiiharmazdiin line 40, and a king whose name 
is missing in line 37, yet these names can hardly refer to A ii h a r- 
m a z d 1 II. and his successor, Shahpuha ri IL, because the 
latter name is mentioned first. But they are, most probably, the 
names of the second and third Sasanian monarchs, already men- 
tioned in the earlier part of the inscription ; so that the latter half of 
the inscription probably gave a more detailed account of the deeds 
of the kings mentioned in the former half. As, however, the very 
short reign of Varahran III. is hardly likely to have been 
commemorated by so long an inscription, it is perhaps most rea- 
sonable to suppose that the accession of his successor, N a r s J h 1 
(a.d. 283—300), may have been mentioned in the missing 
portion of line 35 or 36, and the actual date of the inscription was 
about A.D. 290. 

Owing to its mutilated state this inscription is of little value as a 
historical document. Like that of N a q s h-i R a j a b it is 
written in the first person, and professes apparently to be dictated 
by the divine AQharmazd himself ; this is clear enough in the first 
half of the inscription, and the occurrence of the word afam^ 'and 
by me,' in lines 40, 43, and 47, shows that the use of the first 
person continued in the latter half. 

The chief value of the inscription is philological. Even in its 
present mutilated state it supplies one hundred distinct Sasanian 
words, of which forty-five have not been found in other inscriptions, 
though all but fourteen are known to exist in Pahlavi MSS. 
Allowing for certain peculiarities in orthography, and for the 
existence of about one strange word in seven, its language is 
practically the same as that of the MSS. still preserved by the 

End of Vol. II. 



C«7%<? Academy," June 19, 1886.) 

" Civilization of the Eastern Iranians in Ancient Times." By Dr. 
W. Gbigbr. Translated from the German by Darab Dastur 
Pbshotan Sanjana, B.A., Vol. I., London : Henry Frowdb, 1885. 

A German scientific work translated into English by a Parsi priest 
is a novelty in literature ; and when to this are added the facts that 
the original work is the best and most complete that has been written upon 
the subjects of which it treats, and that the translation is as good and 
idiomatic as could be expected from an Englishman, it may be safely 
recommended as a book well worth perusal by any one who wishes to learn 
all that can be really ascertained, from the Avesta texts, about the manners 
and customs of the ancient Zoroastrians. The translator, who is a son of 
the high priest of the predominant section of the Parsis in Bombay, 
has selected for translation such portions of the original German work as he 
considered most likely to interest his fellow-countrymen and English 
readers in general. He has therefore confined his attention, in the present 
volume, to SS 23'43 ^ (omittingconsiderable portion of H ^ a-^d 39) 
of Dr. Geiger's book. These sections, which form nearly half of the 
German work, treat of the Avesta people and their adversaries, the manners 
and customs of the former, their ideas as to a future existence, the con- 
figuration of the world, and divisions of time, their domestic animals, 
agriculture, manufactures, medical treatment, habitations, and settlements. 
In addition to these a short but comprehensive essay on the religion of the 
Avesta, its sacred beings and demonology, has been contributed by Dr. 
Geiger as an introduction to the English translation, and forms by no 
means the least interesting part of the work. — E. W. West, Ph. D. 


Dastur DXrXb Pbshotan San]ana, 

My Dear Sir, 

I have received by the kind intermediary of your distinguished father 
the very handsome Volume I. of your translation of Greiger's Ostirdmscht 
Kultur\ for which I beg sincerely to thank you. Geiger*s work has 
long been very familiar and useful to me, and I believe it was an excellent 
idea to give to English readers the most interesting parts of it in a 
translation. I have already read over the greater part of your version, 
and find it remarkably well done. Thnt a Parsi priest should succeed so 



well in reDdering a German scientific work into idiomatic English, is 
tnily a most creditable fact for the Mazdean Community of Bombay. I 
read with particular interest your own notes and additions, most of which 
are deserving of very careful consideration from European savants. I 
hope soon to see the continuation of your very important work, besides 
many other original productions which will be of value for the promotion 
of Avestic and Pehlevi studies in India and in England. Meanwhile let 
me sincerely congratulate you on what you have already so brilliantly 

Believe me to be. 

Yours very sincerely, 

(Professor of History, St. Bede's College.) 
14/A January 1886. 

WuRZBURG (Bavaria), 
August i%th, 1885. 

My Dear Sir, 

I have to thank you very much for the copy of your English translation 
of Geiger's work, Vol. I. Your valuable present has only reached me a 
few days ago. I value the original very highly, and I have no doubt that 
the additions which your learning has enabled you to make, have enhanced 
its value considerably. 

Please remember me kindly to your worthy father. 

Yours truly, 

J. JOLLY, Ph.D., 

(Professor of Comparative Philology in the University 
of Wtirzburg, Germany.) 

August gtk, 1885. 

Dear Sir, 

Allow me to thank you most cordially for your very useful and important 
translation of Dr. Greiger's work on the Civilization of the Eastern 

VOL. II. Z 13 


I dare say you are aware that I wrote an article on Zoroasteranism in the 
* Nineteenth Century' some time ago. This will form the basis of an essay 
on the same subject, which will constitute a chapter or two of the Second 
Part of my work called * Religious Thought and Hope in India,' to be 
published by John Murray, London. 1 hope to notice your work in that 
essay and perhaps to quote from it. 

Faithfully yours, 

(Boden Professor of Sanskrit in the University of Oxford.) 

Elphinstone College, 
August 25. • ^ 

My Dear Sir, 

I should have thanked you before now for the very handsome and 
interesting volume, the fruits of your meritorious industry, which you were 
kind enough to send me last week. • * ♦ • • A full exhibition of 
the details and most characteristic developments of any one of the religious 
systems which have helped to form the character and shape the destinies 
of men possesses an abiding interest which is felt even by those who do not 
exactly regard the revival or purification of the existing historical religious 
as an indispensable condition of future progress. But undoubtedly 
whatever makes these religious more rational, and therefore more truly 
spiritual, is matter for congratulation. This, I think, your labours will help 
to effect, and I greatly hope they may be appreciated by your countrymen. 

Believe me, very sincerely yours, 

(Principal, Elphinstone College.) 



Nasserwanji Byramji, Esq., 

Secretary to the Sir Jamshetji J. Zartoshti Madressa. 


I have the honour to inform you, that according to your request, I 
examined Mr. Darab Dastur Peshutan Sanjana in the German language* 
The book which he had read for this purpose was " Goethe's Wanderjahrc.'' 
Goethe, as you are well aware of, is one of the mo^t difficult of the 
German classical writers. But in spite of the difficulties presenting them- 
selves to a beginner, Mr. Sanjana translated several passages with great 



slcill and knowledge into idiomatic English. I then tried hin) in other 
passages out of the works of the same author, Prose as well as Poetry ^ and 
to my astonishment he distinguished himself also there. After a short 
time of meditation about the passage proposed he gave a true and sensible 
translation. • 

Mr. Sanjana is certainly to be congratulated upon the remarkable progress 
he made in the course of three years by his great diligence joined with 
natural talent for languages. 

I have the honour to be, 


Your obedient Servant, 

E. USTERI, S. J., 
(Professor of Greek and Latin, 

St. Xavier's College.) 

I ' / 

4 //